In an incident that has only escalated the crisis in Ukraine, the Crimean parliament voted to secede from Ukraine and unify with Russia.
The man behind the measure that has heated up geopolitical tensions is Sergey Aksyonov, the current prime minister of the Russian-occupied province.
But before Aksyonov became involved international crises, he was allegedly a local gangster who went by the nickname of “Goblin” and was an enforcer for a criminal outfit known as “Salem.” According to the Toronto Star, the gang was involved in numerous incidents of violence that rocketed Simferopol in the years following the fall of the Soviet Union.
Some of “Goblin’s” associates include two men who earned the terrifying nicknames of “Cherry” and “Giraffe.” The gang at one point had 1200 members and viciously fought with the rival “Shoes” gang in the Crimean capital, which once resulted in 30 deaths in one month.
Aksyonov allegedly escaped prosecution by going into politics — corrupt local politics that resulted in the destruction of state evidence framing him.
Aksyonov has vehemently denied these allegations and claims he wasn’t a gangster, but a simple businessman. But his defamation suit against a fellow Crimean leader who presented police evidence that fingered him as the notorious “Goblin” failed in court.
The man that might possibly be “Goblin” is now at the forefront of an international crisis that might lead to the deterioration between two world powers and long-lasting instability in Eastern Europe.
Aksyonov came to power, strangely enough, through an armed takeover of the parliament that resulted in the dismissal of the old parliament and the formation of a new government under his leadership.
It is unknown at the moment if “Cherry” and “Giraffe” have also joined Aksyonov’s new regime.