Kurdish gang leader with alleged links to PKK murdered in Moscow

16 January 2013 / FUAT AKKAN, FUAT SEFEROV, MOSCOW – Zaman – A Kurdish arms dealer in Moscow, Aslan Usayan, known as Ded Hasan, who was believed to be a supplier for the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was shot dead in the Russian capital on Wednesday, less than a week after three PKK militants were killed in an office in Paris as the result of an execution-style shooting.

The Russian gang leader was killed by an unknown assailant while he was leaving a restaurant in Moscow, Russian news outlets reported on Wednesday. This killing took place a time when Turkey is conducting peace talks with PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan to disarm the group. A Russia-based journalist told a news portal, www.haberrus.com, that reports in Turkish about events taking place in Russia, that the 76-year-old mafia leader had links with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and he played an important role in the transfer of arms from Russia to the organization. The journalist, Sergey Kanev, based his allegation on police documents he obtained.

Kanev said his sources told him that another Russian gang leader with Kurdish origins, Zahariy Kalashov, nicknamed Şakro, is the leading player in Russia in the sale of weapons to the PKK. The journalist said Kalashov, who is serving time in a Spanish prison, was involved in the transfer of arms in the 1990s during the era of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin. “Both have relations with PKK leaders,” Kanev was quoted by the website as saying.

Russian media outlets reported that the shot was made by a sniper from the roof of a building near the restaurant. Another woman, an employer of the restaurant, was also injured as a result of the attack. The press department of the Russian Interior Ministry said in an initial statement that Usayan was wounded due to an attack. The ministry later verified the death of the gang leader. In remarks to Russia’s Interfax news agency, an official from the ministry said the attack was likely to have been staged because of a conflict between different illegal organizations. The official said the murder may intensify a war of the gangs.

In September 2010, another attack was staged against Hasan. It is believed that there is a link between the two incidents. The 2010 attack is thought to be related to a war between different gangs and Hasan was reported to have been engaged in a conflict with a gang leader of Georgian origins, Tariel Oniani, who is imprisoned in Moscow. It is rumored that the attack that resulted in the death of Hasan was carried out by Oniani’s gang. It is speculated that Oniani and Hasan were at odds because of the sharing of projects to be launched as part of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.