Part 27: Crime and Punishment
Chapter 27: Crime and Punishment
With Oleg Nemunas's financial dossier safely in hand and checking out against the Red Mafiya's transactions, it was time for the Novistranan Coalition to deliver the final blow against the crime syndicate. Piotr Prokofiev met and liaised with Mayor Grigorii Antonov, intent on using their relationship for one last mutual benefit: eradicating the Red Mafiya.
Even if Antonov had claimed that he wouldn't help Prokofiev any longer, the chance to remove the Red Mafiya from Pugachev permanently would not have been too hard to convince him to act. Nemunas's financial dossier would be proof enough for even Karasov's government to act and move against the syndicate before they continued to further damage Pugachev's economy via smuggling. Combined with Prokofiev's knowledge of where each member of the Red Mafiya lived, it would be easy to find them.
After liaising with Antonov and convincing him to finish the Red Mafiya once and for all, Prokofiev saw as Vasily Karasov himself ordered a Presidential Alpha Squad to eliminate each member of the Red Mafiya in a series of raids...
* * *
Novistranan Coalition Dossier - Grigorii Antonov: Politician
Grigorii Antonov is the newly-selected Mayor of Pugachev.
* * *
Piotr Prokofiev gripped the handle of Nemunas's black-gold briefcase tightly as he walked down the serene path facing the Ministry of Propaganda. He had gotten a hold of Mayor Antonov and arranged to meet him at a small bench under a large tree. This bench, the mayor explained after being convinced to meet Prokofiev, was perfect for a retreat without getting seen.
Prokofiev shielded his eyes from the morning sun, wishing he had some sunglasses. April was well under way and the days were getting warmer, but the sun shone as brightly as ever. He couldn't tell if the mayor had arrived yet or not, but as he approached, he saw the Mayor already sitting down on the bench, checking his watch.
Prokofiev approached, putting down the briefcase next to the bench. Mayor Antonov calmly got up.
"Hello there, comrade," Grigorii Antonov greeted Prokofiev, who returned the greeting.
"Good to see you made it after all," Prokofiev told the mayor, sitting down with him and shaking his hand. "I was afraid you wouldn't be able to meet me on such short notice."
"For you? I'll always be able to pencil something in," Antonov nodded with a snort. "So. You knocked out those Red Mafiya shops and now you're telling me you have evidence that can put them away for good?"
"That's right, comrade," Prokofiev nodded, opening the briefcase and taking out a few documents. "I've got here loads of documents, all verifiable, that prove when and where the Red Mafiya runs its smuggling operations in Pugachev. These are financial statements and dossiers prepared to show exactly where the Red Mafiya gets its money, who their contacts are, and where to strike."
"I assume you want me to act on this," Antonov said, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.
"Yes, that's right," Prokofiev answered, reviewing over some other documents. "The Red Mafiya has been a lot of trouble for everyone, Mayor Antonov. With this, the government has a duty to strike and take out the Red Mafiya on a level a political faction like my own couldn't do yet. I need your help."
"And what if I were to tell you that I won't help you?"
Prokofiev stopped dead in his tracks, and slowly turned to look at Antonov. His expression turned from stunned shock to anger in a second.
"Are you kidding me, Antonov?" Prokofiev asked. "Are you seriously telling me you're not going to do anything?"
"I told you earlier, Prokofiev," shrugged the mayor, "that I was done helping you and your party. I sponsored the charity dinner and did what I could to support you. Our business was done then."
"But this is the Red Mafiya we're talking about!" Prokofiev replied angrily, shaking the documents he was holding. "They've been damaging the city's economy and making life miserable for Pugachev! How can you say you won't do anything?"
"I want to hear a good reason why I should stick out my neck for you," Antonov replied grimly. "The Red Mafiya was able to kill the previous mayor. I want no such dealings with them, or against them, for that matter."
"What, are you afraid of them or something?" Prokofiev snapped as he put the documents back in the briefcase.
"No, as a matter of fact I hate the Red Mafiya," Antonov said with a sneer. "However, this information obviously came from you, and I want nothing to do with your party any longer, either. Karasov's been following your movements closely."
Prokofiev sat back and stared at the mayor, fuming. He had to hold in his rage, but it was difficult. He briefly considered threatening to reveal the mayor's secret past, but the mayor was just taking a position of neutrality now that Karasov was involved. Prokofiev would need to pull in the mayor with honey, not vinegar.
"Fine, I'll convince you," Prokofiev said after a while, mulling over his thoughts, "that it's in your best interest to move against the Red Mafiya."
"All right, let's hear it."
"I think you know, now that you're mayor, that Pugachev is suffering from a pretty bad economy because of them," Prokofiev began, thinking back to the papers he read. "Ilyushin has a lot of deals and businesses helping him, and it certainly would look bad to the media and the government that so much of Pugachev is aiding them. Not that I'm threatening blackmail, mind you," he added after a moment.
"Go on," the mayor said, frowning as he listened.
"I admit that uncovering the truth sounds really foolish, especially after you being elected so soon," Prokofiev said, "but think about it. You got selected because you're supposedly clean and free of any back room deals. Think about how people would view you if you wiped out the Red Mafiya under a guise of cleaning up corruption and reform!"
"I already have plenty of power and goodwill," countered the mayor. "I don't need to wipe out a crime gang to get my numbers up with the committee."
"No, you don't," Prokofiev conceded. He moved closer to the mayor, in a conspiratorial tone. "But in the future, this is going to buy you a lot of credit in case you fuck something up."
Mayor Antonov sat back, closing his eyes and crossing his arms in thought. Prokofiev continued.
"You backed the charity. That already makes you a hero to the homeless and the poor," explained Prokofiev with honeyed words, trying to entice the mayor. "Now think about the favors you could curry with the middle-class and the rich by removing a smuggling ring, making the streets safe and the economy stronger."
"Pugachev will survive whether I act or not," Mayor Antonov replied confidently. "It certainly held on through the war and after it."
"That's true, but we're talking about you now, not Pugachev," Prokofiev pointed out, still pouring treacle on his words. "Think past the city, now. Think about how you would be seen by the government for turning this whole city around. If you could fix the economy of a city, why certainly they may consider you worthy of a governorship somewhere..."
Antonov slowly sat forward again, leaning to face Prokofiev. His eyes shone greedily, not unlike Lavanov's. "Do you really think that?"
"I know it," Prokofiev said. "I may be a revolutionary, but I understand how Novistrana works."
"And what if you succeed in your revolution?" the mayor asked, frowning. "Do I get something?"
"Why, you're the first one that actually believes I can make it," Prokofiev said in mock surprise. "Surely a mayor like you can't say such things?"
"Let's just say you've got a way of getting people to your side," sneered the mayor. "Do I get something if I help you?"
"Ah, now, you're just trying to get something whether the revolution fails or succeeds," Prokofiev said, disappointed. "You can't play both sides like that."
"Nnnnnnno, I can," the mayor drew out, smirking. "I'm the mayor now, and you're a revolutionary. Promise me something good and I may just help you."
Prokofiev drew his hand down his face in frustration, then nodded. "Fine, you old leech. I'll see if I can't work you into a position of power somehow. Does a governorship sound good to you?"
"Nowhere near the Russians, mind," Antonov demanded. "I may be a comrade but those Soviets have some bad blood with me. But, yes, it does sound good."
"Done," Prokofiev nodded, mentally filing away a note to deal with Antonov later. "Will you help us now?"
"I will," grinned Antonov, gesturing at the briefcase. "Hand me that and I'll make sure the Red Mafiya meets its end in a most... Novistranan way."
Prokofiev nodded and handed the mayor the briefcase. Both men got up, and the mayor kissed Prokofiev, who patted him on the arm.
"I think I'll be giving you something for your trouble, too," Antonov smirked after a moment. "Keep an eye on the news, won't you?"
* * *
Vasily Karasov stepped out of his limousine, scoping out Natanson Town as he walked down the sidewalk. It was a long while since he had visited Pugachev. Too long. He allowed himself the luxury of a smile, something he rarely did for himself when he wasn't busy with politics and keeping his seat of power.
The newly-selected Mayor of Pugachev, a retired policeman by the name of Grigorii Antonov, had called him earlier in the day, explaining he had evidence to destroy the crime syndicate known as the Red Mafiya. Ever since he ordered the mass arrest and execution of the Democracy Now Party, Karasov had suffered criticism from moderate media establishments that would have been silent in earlier days, and loyal districts and cities began to waver. He shook his head in disgust. How had he fallen so out of grace that factions like the DNP and the Red Mafiya could exist unchallenged?
His intelligence networks in Ekaterine and Pugachev had both failed to track the movements of the newly-formed Novistranan Coalition, except when they popped out in public. His attempts to destroy them openly were laughable, and when they tried to pry the Coalition apart from the inside, that bastard Prokofiev had reunited them in less than a week. It was embarrassing, and it made Karasov look weak. And if there was one thing Vasily Karasov wanted to avoid entirely, it was looking weak.
"That will be fixed soon enough," he told himself calmly as he took out a phone and began dialing a number. The voice on the other hand was sharp and clear.
"Your orders, sir?"
He hung up the phone and walked back to his limousine. Now his smile was a malevolent grin.
They would all know the price of treason.
* * *
Piotr Prokofiev's Diary - Hundred-third Entry: 06/04/1996
I managed to meet with both Mayor Antonov and Anton Kamensky today. Antonov seems willing to help us out, and it appeared this was the case when I met with the millionaire Kamensky later in the day in Pugachev Fields to discuss the charity's operations.
During our conversation, I explained that he would not need to fear the Red Mafiya or any sort of criminal influence affecting our charity. He seemed skeptical, explaining to me before we took a seat at Meronvigian's that the Red Mafiya had been a plague on the city for longer than I could imagine.
I assured him not to worry, and we began to discuss business before we even reached the table.
During our conversation, I explained to him our plans and how Kamensky could look after the charity's funding while the Coalition and I were out of Berezina. He seemed to agree with a lot of my decisions, questioning only in financial matters that were unclear to me. It was during one of these conversations that we heard the distant sounds of assault rifle fire.
"What is going on?" Kamensky asked me, eyes wide and looking like a frightened child.
"That, comrade, is the Red Mafiya's death," I replied, quickly returning to business.
I think, all things considered, he took that admission of guilt quite well. He even allowed himself a few jokes at their expense before signing a contract of renegotiation and seeing me off for the night.
Antonov called me a while ago to attend a ceremony tomorrow morning. It seems he wants to give me an award "for my work in destroying the Red Mafiya", he explained. This award should let the people of Pugachev know what I've done for them, and it will legitimize my movement even further.
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