- Russian crime boss Yaponchik to be buried in Moscow
- Russian prosecutors confirm death of crime boss Yaponchik
- Russian crime boss wounded in Moscow shooting
MOSCOW, October 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russian crime boss Vyacheslav Ivankov was buried in Moscow's Vagankovskoye cemetery on Tuesday after a lavish ceremony attended by hundreds of people and amid heightened security measures.
Ivankov, also known as Yaponchik or "little Japanese," died in hospital last week at the age of 69 after being severely wounded in a shooting in July.
At least 400 people attended the burial at the expansive cemetery, which is the final resting place for Russian and Soviet dignitaries, as well as for a number of top criminals.
Police stepped up security during the funeral, examining the cemetery for possible bombs before the burial, fearing attacks from a rival crime group. An ambulance was standby near the cemetery.
Russian police sources on Tuesday dismissed fears that the death of the Russian mafia godfather could trigger a re-division of spheres of influence between Moscow's major crime groups and lead to a subsequent settling of accounts. Police officials said Ivankov had lost much of his influence in the Russian underworld.
Ivankov spent most of the 1990s in a U.S. prison for extorting $3.5 million from two Russian immigrants. He was extradited to Russia in 2004 to face murder charges but was acquitted by a local court and freed.
The criminal group of which Ivankov was a key member reportedly deals in the gambling business, drug and arms trafficking, controls the mineral extraction sector, the real estate and construction markets in Moscow, the Urals, central and southern Russia.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.