Solntsevskaya bratva

Solntsevskaya bratva

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The Solntsevskaya Bratva is a powerful organized crime
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

 organization from Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. It is named after the Solntsevo neighborhood in the city. It is considered to be one the most dangerous criminal organizations in the entire world.

History


Sergei Mikhailov 'Mikhas' and a fellow gangster, Boris Yakov Arshavin( Black Rose Mafia Boss) formed the organization in the mid-80s. They chose to ignore the codes and guidelines of the traditional thieves in law
Thief in law
Thief in law is a criminal who is respected, has authority and a high ranking status within the...

 and based themselves on a more Western style, with Mikhas preferring to call himself a 'businessman' rather than a вор (vor, "thief").
However, strict discipline was still enforced and thieves in law were not excluded from the group's activities.

Eventually, gangs under the control of the syndicate controlled virtually the entire south-west of the city. The organization also merged with the influential Orekhovskaya gang
Orekhovskaya gang
The Orekhovskaya gang was a criminal organization based in Moscow active between the late 80's and early 90's.-History:The gang was founded in 1988 and was made up primarily of former young sportsmen between 18 and 25. The gang's leader was Sergei Timofeyev, nicknamed "Sylvester" after Sylvester...

, led by thief-in-law Sergei Timofeyev. The union was partly a result of fear of warfare with Chechen mafia
Chechen mafia
The Chechen mafia is one of the largest organized crime groups operating in the former Soviet Union next to established Russian mafia gangs, which originally consisted of criminals of Chechen ethnicity who later also tried to recruit former Russian special military forces, police and army officers...

 groups and other "southerners".

In 1989-1990, the arrests of several gang leaders including Mikhailov crippled the organization. Several high ranking gangsters tried to form their own separate crews but ended up being murdered, including Alexander Bezuvkin (killed 1990), Dima Sharapov, Valera Merin, "Edik the Fridge", Uzbek Lenya and Abramov "Dispatcher" (all killed in 1993).
In 1994 a meeting of mafia bosses was held in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, shortly after which Timofeyev was murdered when a bomb in his car went off near the house of the then Russian prime minister.
Timofeyev's heir to the leadership of Orekhovskaya, Igor "Max" Maksimov, was killed in February of 1995.
However despite all the killings, by 1996 the bratva not only regained their strength lost in the early 90's but had become one of the most powerful criminal organizations in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. Mikhailov used Timofeyev's death as an opportunity to take control of businesses previously owned by the Orekhovskaya organization. By the end of 1995, it was estimated the Solntsevskaya group controlled about 120 legitimate firms and businesses in the Moscow, Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

 and Samara
Samara Oblast
Samara Oblast is a federal subject of Russia . Its administrative center is the city of Samara. Population: In 1936–1990, it was known as Kuybyshev Oblast , after the Soviet name of Samara .-Demographics:Population:...

 regions. They also bought many businesses abroad.

In 1996 Mikhailov was arrested in Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 on a variety of charges. However, as he sat in prison awaiting trial and the prosecutors built their case, a number of key witnesses turned up dead. Due to the lack of evidence provided by Russian authorities, a conviction was not possible. He remains free and the boss of the organization today.

In 1997 and 1998, the presence of Mikhailov, Semion Mogilevich
Semion Mogilevich
Semion Yudkovich Mogilevich is a Ukrainian-born organized crime boss, believed by European and United States federal law enforcement agencies to be the "boss of bosses" of most Russian Mafia syndicates in the world...

 and others associated with the Russian Mafia behind a public company, YBM Magnex International Inc., trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange
Toronto Stock Exchange
Toronto Stock Exchange is the largest stock exchange in Canada, the third largest in North America and the seventh largest in the world by market capitalisation. Based in Canada's largest city, Toronto, it is owned by and operated as a subsidiary of the TMX Group for the trading of senior equities...

, was exposed by Canadian journalists. On May 13, 1998 dozens of agents for the FBI
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 and several other U.S. government agencies raided YBM's headquarters in Newtown, Pennsylvania
Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Newtown is a borough in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,248 at the 2010 census. It is located just west of the Trenton, New Jersey metropolitan area, and is part of the larger Philadelphia metropolitan area. It is entirely surrounded by Newtown Township, from which...

. Shares in the public company, which had been valued at $1 billion on the TSE, became worthless overnight. http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/events/panorama/transcripts/transcript_06_12_99.txt Years later, (in 2003), Mogilevich and YBM associates, but not Mikhailov, would be placed on the FBI
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

's "Most Wanted" List in connection with the scheme.

As of 1998, the Solntsevskaya gang contains around 5,000 members. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/1998/03/98/russian_mafia/70485.stm

Recent and current status


The Solntsevskaya bratva have many business interests with legitimate business groups. Law enforcement believe in addition to offering these groups 'protection' the gang also assist the businesses when it comes to not-so-legal matters.

Though it is considered one of the most powerful Russian organized crime
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

 groups, it is difficult for law enforcement to accurately measure the strength and influence of the family, since many racketeers declaring themselves 'solntsevskaya' only do so to be feared and respected, and are not actually affiliated with the organization, and there is also frequent internal fighting within the group.

A 2003 report for the U.S.A, revealed the organization had a presence in San Francisco and was working with local drug cartel
Drug cartel
Drug cartels are criminal organizations developed with the primary purpose of promoting and controlling drug trafficking operations. They range from loosely managed agreements among various drug traffickers to formalized commercial enterprises. The term was applied when the largest trafficking...

s as well as being involved in money laundering
Money laundering
Money laundering is the process of disguising illegal sources of money so that it looks like it came from legal sources. The methods by which money may be laundered are varied and can range in sophistication. Many regulatory and governmental authorities quote estimates each year for the amount...

, prostitution
Prostitution
Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including a "john". Prostitution is one of...

, credit card fraud
Credit card fraud
Credit card fraud is a wide-ranging term for theft and fraud committed using a credit card or any similar payment mechanism as a fraudulent source of funds in a transaction. The purpose may be to obtain goods without paying, or to obtain unauthorized funds from an account. Credit card fraud is also...

, human trafficking
Human trafficking
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, or a modern-day form of slavery...

, arms deals
Gunrunning
Arms trafficking, also known as gunrunning, is the illegal trafficking or smuggling of contraband weapons or ammunition.The 1997 Report of the UN Panel of Governmental Experts on Small Arms provides a more refined and precise definition, which has become internationally accepted...

 and other illegal activity. http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/pdf-files/OrgCrime_Mexico.pdf

See also

  • Russian mafia
    Russian Mafia
    The Russian Mafia is a name applied to organized crime syndicates in Russia and Ukraine. The mafia in various countries take the name of the country, as for example the Ukrainian mafia....

  • Tambov gang
    Tambov Gang
    The Tambov Gang is a large gang in Saint Petersburg, Russia. According to common allegations, it was organized in St. Petersburg in 1988 by two men from Tambov Oblast, Vladimir Kumarin and Valery Ledovskikh. The gang is named after their region of origin, Tambov Oblast...

  • Izmaylovskaya gang
  • Sergei Mikhailov
  • Semion Mogilevich
    Semion Mogilevich
    Semion Yudkovich Mogilevich is a Ukrainian-born organized crime boss, believed by European and United States federal law enforcement agencies to be the "boss of bosses" of most Russian Mafia syndicates in the world...

  • Vyacheslav Ivankov
    Vyacheslav Ivankov
    Vyacheslav Kirillovich Ivankov was a notorious member of the Russian Mafia who was believed to have connections with Russian state intelligence organizations and their organized crime partners. He has operated in both the Soviet Union and the United States...


External links