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Alleged gangster re-elected as president of the Russian Wrestling Federation

Mikhail Mamiashvili was re-elected as president of the Russian Wrestling Federation by a unanimous vote. 

Mamiashvili (wikicommons) Wikicommons

The man with supposed ties to the Russian underworld, and who allegedly abused a female Olympian at the Rio Games has been unanimously re-elected as head of the Russian Wrestling Federation.

Mikhail Mamiashvili, a former Olympic champion with longstanding ties to the Georgian mafia in Moscow, ran unopposed in a bid to maintain his position at the helm of Russian wrestling until 2020. By the time his term is up, he will have completed 23 years as the federation’s president.

While Mamiashvili heads the Russian Wrestling Federation, he is also a FILA Bureau Member, and the vice president of United World Wrestling, the governing body for Olympic wrestling. However, despite his respectable position in the wrestling community, he has been unable to mask his shady past.

While in the midst of his burgeoning sports career, Mamiashvili met Otari Kvantrishvili, the most influential Georgian gangster to operate in Russia during the 1980s and 90s. He became a close companion of the notorious criminal and gradually rose through the hierarchy. He was to be a significant part of Kvantrishvili’s plan to start a political party named the ‘Sportsmen of Russia.’

However, following Kvantrishvili’s death in 1994, Mamiashvili stepped out of the spotlight and focused on a career in sports administration.

While Mamiashvili has helped the Russian Federation add to its medal count in wrestling events, his tenure has been wrought with scandal. Most recently, Mamiashvili was accused of physically abusing Inna Trazhukova, a Russian Olympic wrestler, after she failed to secure a bronze medal for her country during the freestyle tournament. Trazhukova claimed that Mamiashvili was drunk when he cornered her backstage, and slapped her twice across the face.

While Trazhukova initially planned to press charges and complain to the Sports Minister, she withdrew her statement upon her return to Russia. It was suggested that intimidation factored into her decision.

Several weeks later, it was reported that Mamiashvili owed two million rubles in unpaid bank loans. The Georgian native taken a loan in 2014 and only paid a portion back. After inconsistent payments, Mamiashvili seemingly stopped paying in 2015 and has now been ordered by the court to pay back 1 million rubles from the initial principal and 900,000 rubles in compounded interest.

Yet despite the mounting complaints against Mamiashvili, he remains in charge of Russia’s wrestling federation.