Rovshan Janiev’s arrest in Baku: efforts to avert a mob war?

Rovshan behind bars again

Rovshan behind bars again

Dmitry Chanturia (‘Miron’ or ‘Miron Yaroslavsky’), the new head of Aslan Usoyan’s criminal network, seems to believe that the Azeri gangster Rovshan Janiev (‘Rovshan Lenkoranskiy’) is responsible for his uncle’s murderAs I’ve written elsewhere, it may be his genuine belief, or simply because Janiev is a more politically-palatable and practical target than the more likely culprit, Tariel Oniani (‘Taro’). Either way, there is likely to have been a connection to the recent murder of Janiev’s ally  Astamur Gulia (‘Astik Sukhumski’) in Abkhazia.

Many of the grandees of the Russian underworld are keenly aware of the many dangers which could follow if a new mob war erupts, from the way it would spread to the likelihood that it may force the state to crack down. They have been trying to negotiate a truce of sorts. However, the Russian state is also keen to avert any such catastrophic collapse of the present cold peace within the underworld. This was probably one of the reasons for the unusual decision to break up a gathering of bosses from the Oniani network when they sat down at a restaurant in Nikolina Gora, west of Moscow. The 23 mobsters were duly released after being detained, but the key thing was this this breach of the usual cop-godfather etiquette was likely a signal that they were being watched and their intent — to plan how they would capitalize on the murder ‘Ded Hasan’ — was one on which the authorities frowned.

I cannot help but suspect that a similar motive may be behind Janiev’s unexpected arrest in Baku on 28 January, when he flew in for a birthday celebration. Whether or not Janiev ends up being charged in Azerbaijan, let alone convicted, may to an extent be beside the point. Janiev clearly did not expect arrest and normally he would probably have been safe. However, were Moscow eager to make a point and damp down the potential embers of a criminal conflagration, persuading the Azeri authorities to give him a warning but also to take him off the streets might well be a useful step…

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  1. Mafia War Brewing After Killing of Usoyan | Kiss Canaries
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