The Life and Death of Russian Killer Number One
Moscow police officers nabbed a mafia superkiller
An assassin from the group of a well-known Russian criminal authority, Alexander Solonik, was nabbed in Moscow. This was said Friday by the Moscow Internal Affairs Department. It was also added that the operation to detain the criminal was conducted by Moscow police officers together with Interpol agents and Greece police officers. The Moscow Internal Affairs Department did not expose the criminal’s name, having referred to the interests of the investigation. It is only known that the nabbed man was born in 1971, and that he rented an apartment in Moscow’s Vavilov Street. The operation to detain the assassin took place on Thursday at about midday.
In spite of the fact that there has been a lot written about the biography of the legendary criminal Alexander Solonik, a lot of things remain unclear still. The time and place of his birth are known for sure: 1960, the city of Kurgan. It is not known, though, if he served in the army or not. Some pieces of information say that he served in a special unit of the Central Intelligence Department, which was attached to a group of the Soviet troops in East Germany. The West was really afraid of Soviet special intelligence officers, they were even called “little red devils.” It was rumored that the Soviet Union trained such agents in order to attack and liquidate senior officials of NATO countries. Other pieces of information affirm that Alexander Solonik has never served in special services of the Soviet Union. He served in a sports company, where he proved himself as an excellent athlete, although he was really bad at shooting. This is rather strange, for Alexander Solonik was a very good sports shooter when a teenager. He was also good at classic wresting.
Alexander Solonik’s former lawyer, Valery Karyshev, commented on the rumor about his service in the Central Intelligence Department: “My client served in Germany, but not in the Central Intelligence Department, as people think now. There was a group of special intelligence officers trained near the territory of the military unit, in which Alexander Solonik served. He would watch those training programs for a lot of time, he even became obsessed with the idea of becoming a superman. He found something romantic about it. So, when he served in the army, he made up his mind to become a cop.”
After the demobilization, he got a job at internal affairs bodies, and soon enrolled a police school. However, he studied at that school for only six months. It is not known, why he stopped his studies there. To all appearances, his first criminal story happened at that period of his life. Most likely, the authorities did not want to make that story public, so they simply got rid of such an officer.
After he became a civil man again, he got married for the second time. When he was married for the first time, his wife gave birth to a girl. Alexander Solonik’s son was born in the second marriage. Alexander got a job as a grave digger for a local graveyard. He was arrested for the first time in the fall of 1987, on the allegation of rape. The investigation failed to prove his guilt, taking into consideration the fact the victim went to police several months after the alleged incident happened. However, the Soviet law was rather tough towards Solonik: he was sentenced to eight months in a correctional colony. If the court had not brought down such a strict sentence on a young man, probably, there wouldn’t have been so many mysterious murders afterwards; there wouldn’t have been a bloody massacre on a major Moscow market. Yet, history does not stand the word if. Other versions say that Solonik had three rapes, but it was possible to prove only one of them.
Solonik did not want to become a prisoner. When the sentence was announced, his wife came to see him. All of a sudden, he broke a window in the meeting room, jumped off the second storey of the building and escaped. Alexander disappeared for several months. He even reached the Siberian city of Tyumen. In that city he decided to get rid of his special marks: a mole on his face and a crown-like tattoo on his hand. He was arrested right in the cosmetic saloon.
Former police officers are usually sent to special colonies, although Alexander was sent to a common one. As soon as other prisoners found out that Alexander was a former cop, they decided to test his fighting abilities. The fight was very long and brutal: Alexander was alone against a dozen of well-built prisoners. He won the fight, although he was beaten really hard. After that prisoners left him alone. However, he was not one of the good guys there: he did not smoke, did not use drugs, did not make any tattoos. Working out was the only thing that he liked to do in prison. He kept aloof from those prisoners, who did not want to do anything: they refused to work and always had fights with the prison administration. Solonik was soon sent to the industrial area of the prison, which was not guarded as well as the rest of it. Solonik used that opportunity and escaped again, after two years in jail. A prison dog determined that Alexander escaped from a small vent hole. It was not hard for him really, because he was not a big man. He was only 167 centimeters tall. The escape happened in April of 1990, He disappeared for four years and a half, until the bloody massacre on Moscow Petrovsky market place. To all appearances, Alexander became an active member of the notorious Kurgan criminal society. According to his own testimony, which he gave a lot later, he committed his first serious crime as a member of that group. Godfathers ordered him to shoot the leader of another criminal. The assassination took place on July 3rd, 1990 in Tyumen – one month and a half after the escape. Most likely, Alexander was in need of big money. Freedom costs a lot.
Soon after that Alexander moved over to Moscow. In Russia’s capital he got a nickname Alexander the Great, over his ability to shoot in a Macedonian way – with two hands. As it turned out, there were a lot of people in Moscow, who wished to use Alexander’s criminal talents. Moscow’s police were shocked in the winter of 1992, when they learned of the assassination of one of the most influential criminals Viktor Nikiforov, nicknamed as Kalina. Needless to mention, that the assassin was not found. About six months later a sniper shot killed another influential criminal Valery Dlugach, nicknamed as Globus. Neither his bodyguards, nor his armored car helped him. Another leader of a criminal group was killed on January 17th, 1994 - Vladislav Vinner, nicknamed as Bobon. Solonik confessed all those assassinations. He even went to the sites of his crimes in order to recreate the events.
In early winter of 1994 Alexander Solonik left for Tyumen to talk to Mammoth (Andrey Rura), the leader of the most powerful criminal group in Tyumen. Solonik spent a lot of time, talking to Mammoth, trying to make him pay the debt of some one million dollars to a Moscow bank. Mammoth said a very resolute no. Solonik went back to Moscow. Special services found out that he conducted negotiations with Tyumen criminals in Moscow’s Arlekino Club. Several influential criminal authorities, including Mammoth himself, were killed several days later.
Alexander Solonik preferred to fight until his very last breath instead of being stopped by a police officer for an ID check. However, when law-enforcement officers of Moscow’s Petrovsky market place asked Solonik and a friend of his to go to the police room, they did not argue. If the police officers had paid attention to the fact that one of the two men was carrying a raincoat on his arm, the tragedy wouldn’t have happened. The raincoat covered a gun. Solonik fired that gun in the police room. Four police officers were shot dead. When running out of the market, Solonik killed two more security guards and one more police officer. He quickly climbed over a high fence and was about to reach railways tracks, when one bullet finally got him. He was seriously wounded in a kidney, but he kept running away, until he was caught. His friend managed to escape. Police officers were astounded with Alexander’s ability to shoot. When Solonik was running away from police officers, he fired his gun three times, trying to kill an officer, who was hiding behind a cement poll. All three bullets hit the poll in one spot.
When in prison, after he recovered to an operation on his wounded kidney, Solonik kept on working out, studied foreign languages and even literature on computers. It seemed that he knew that he was about to run away again soon. This is exactly what happened eight months after he was arrested, on July 5th, 1995. His was the first person, who escaped from Detention Center 1.
The official version says that some influential criminal group had its own man in the jail, Sergey Menshikov. He “worked” there as a guard. It was him, who gave a rope, several hooks and a gun to the superkiller. Solonik hid some clothes under his blanket in order to make the guards think that he was sleeping. Menshikov took him to the roof of the jail, where the walking grounds were, they got down on a rope and got into a BMW car that was waiting for them there. A news agency reported later that Sergey Menshikov’s dead body was found in the Yauza river. However, the same news agency rejected that information the next day.
Alexander Solonik’s whereabouts were absolutely not known. He was seen in Spain, in Italy and then in Cyprus. The world learned about Alexander Solonik’s death on February 1, 1997. The Greek press reported that the dead body of the head of the Russian mafia was found 20 kilometers far from Athens. Solonik died over choking. As usual, there are several different versions to explain his death.
As it is believed, someone called the police and said that there was a dead body of an unknown man found in the forest near the town of Variboby. It was said that the body was hidden in a sack. Police officers identified that the 37-year-old man was choked with a kapron cord. The man was wearing clothes, although there was nothing found in his pockets. Soon the police determined that it was the body of Russian killer number one, since he was put on the federal wanted list. However, Moscow Internal Affairs Department said that the story was different.
A plane from Frankfort landed in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo 2 Airport. Greek citizen, Mr. Kolandopulos arrived on board that plane in Moscow. This person was also known as Andrey Koligov, a leader of Kurgan-based criminal group. The police were waiting for him at the mentioned airport. He did not answer any questions, when he was questioned. However, it became possible to find out that Koligov recently had a meeting with Solonik in Athens. A group of police officers left for Athens right away. In a Greek airport the chief of the police group learned from a phone conversation with Moscow that some parcel was waiting for them at the nearest gas station. The parcel was found there indeed. The package was opened the next day in Interpol agents’ presence. The package contained the hand-made map of some place. The following words were written on the paper in Russian: “You wanted Solonin – get him.” An international group of police officers arrived to the place, which was shown on the map, not far from the Greek town of Varyboby. A police officer, who saw Solonik before, recognized his body. It just so happened to Solonik was choked right after the police officers left for Greece.
The superkiller’s mysterious death led to more rumors and sensations. It was rumored that it was not Alexander Solonik, but his double killed in Greece, taking into consideration the fact that his face could not be recognized after he had a plastic surgery. It was even said that Solonik’s fingerprints in the Interpol database were not actually his fingerprints. Thus, Solonik’s dead body was nothing but a performance.
Egor Belous PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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Read the original in Russian: http://accidents.pravda.ru/accidents/2003/10/72/202/6021_Solonik.html