The end of the thieves’ era
Georgy Kalatozishvili, Tbilisi. Exclusively to VK
Georgian society is following the case of the well-known organised crime chief, Lasha Shushanashvili (Lasha Rustavsky), who was arrested in Greece and will soon be extradited to Spain, where he is accused of grave crimes. Tbilisi expects permission for the extradition of Shushanashvili to Georgia, where he is accused of belonging to “the top echelon” according to the article of the country’s Criminal Code, which is unique for the world of law.
According to the Ministry for Internal Affairs of Georgia, Shushanashvili was arrested in an Athens suburb, after which the police confiscated a gun, several CDs and fake passports. Shushanashvili lived in Greece under the name of an Armenian citizen, Miroslav Artemyan. Moreover, he had several Russian passports in various names. The police needed several hours to identify Shushanashvili, who was wanted by Interpol. Lasha Rustavsky is thought to be the head of several clans in Europe. In Spain he headed a local group together with brother Kakha, who is awaiting extradition to Russia at the moment.
“We cooperate closely with both the Spanish and Greek law-enforcement agencies,” the ambassador of Georgia to Serbia and Greece, Irakly Tavartkiladze, said, “They receive all the necessary information from us and provide us with information as well.” Tbilisi is going to demand extradition too. “Of course, Shushanashvili will be extradited from Greece to Spain, as both countries are EU members. But we will insist on the extradition of Shushanishvili to Georgia. And our diplomats are working actively in this direction,” the deputy head of the Foreign Ministry of Georgia, Nino Kalandadze, said.
In Georgia Lasha Shushanashvili is accused of “membership in the world of thieves” and “running a thieves’ community.” He might be sentenced to 10 years in a special solitary unit in the basement of the Ministry for Internal Affairs building. After Saakshvili became President and declared the war against “thieves,” Lasha Shushanashvili left Georgia forever. However, many people in Rustavi remember him.
In Russia, Lasha Rustavsky was thought to be the right-hand man of the well-known thief Aslan Usoyan (Old Hassan), who appointed Shushanashvili his successor after an attempt on his life.
Independent observers leave open the possibility that the arrest of Shushanashvili means the end of the era of "thieves-in-law". “Lasha Shushanashvili, Tariel Oniani, Aslan Usoyan and Vyacheslav Avankov were the last representatives of the whole caste of "thieves-in-law". Their time has gone, as the situation in Georgia and Russia changes. Maybe this phenomenon will be transformed into a mafia, which is well-known in the West, and will have nothing in common with the "thieves-in-law" of the Soviet and post-Soviet period,” the independent political scientist David Avalishvili told VK.