A Life Sentence for Aslan Gagiev
The notorious leader of a gang of killers, Aslan Gagiev - also known by his moniker "Djako" - has been handed a life imprisonment sentence by a court in Rostov, Russia. The investigation had previously established that Gagiev had directed his subordinates in North Ossetia to carry out six murders during the period of 2012-2013. Historically, the investigative authorities have credited the gang with being responsible for approximately 60 murders overall.
Gagiev's Reign of Criminal Terror
Aslan Gagiev, age 51, hails from the Ossetian village of Bolkvi in southeastern Georgia. According to the Russian Investigative Committee, in 2004, Gagiev formed an organized criminal association (OCA) spanning a wide geography, from Moscow to North Ossetia, and managed to gather at least 50 people within it. By November 2012, he had established three gangs in North Ossetia that recruited young people and purchased weapons and ammunition. Gagiev financed all these gangs himself with an aim to become the leader of the North Ossetian criminal world.
Among the victims of Gagiev's gangs were law enforcement officers, officials, and businessmen. Some of the most infamous crimes attributed to Gagiev and his gang include the murders of Dmitry Plytnik, owner of National Capital Bank, Alexander Slesarev, shareholder of Sodbiznesbank and Credittrust Bank, and Oleg Novoselsky, chairman of the board of Kutuzovsky Bank.
The Trial and Verdict
Gagiev, who had been hiding in Austria for a while, was extradited to Russia in 2018. The high-profile trial commenced in 2021 and recently concluded with the final session before the verdict was held. Despite the wealth of evidence against him, Gagiev maintained his innocence throughout the trial, denying his involvement in the contract killings. He argued that the investigation did not provide convincing motives for these crimes and complained about the violation of his procedural rights.
Despite Gagiev's protests and pleas, the court found him guilty of leading a criminal association, creating three gangs, being involved in multiple murders, and illegal trafficking of weapons. As a result, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, marking a significant victory for Russia's justice system.
The Legacy of "Djako"
Gagiev, also known as "Djako," leaves behind a controversial legacy. In North Ossetia, as well as South Ossetia, opinions about him are divided. Some view him as a bloodthirsty criminal and murderer, while others see him as an Ossetian Robin Hood and a just instrument of retribution in the fight against corrupt officials and law enforcers. It is said that Gagiev's informal influence in both Ossetias still remains, and he is thought to have connections with various North and South Ossetian politicians. His life and criminal career are a testament to the complex and often blurred lines between crime, power, and politics in the region.
(Read Also: Bulgaria is Ending the Derogation for Russian Oil?)
The life sentence handed to Aslan Gagiev is a significant step in Russia's fight against organized crime. It serves as a stark reminder of the law's long reach and the ultimate consequences of a life of crime. Despite Gagiev's claims of innocence and his attempts to portray himself as a victim of procedural violations, the court's decision is a testament to the strength of the evidence against him. His sentencing serves as a strong message to other criminal leaders: no matter how powerful or influential they may be, justice will eventually catch up with them.