I would just like to point out that I, my father, our colleagues and our company have been subject to the New York Times and its "reputable" reporting.
The sum total of their "research" involved one telephone call to our offices. When the person who was required was not available but in fact was returning the next day, that was it. No further effort on their part.
So, they just made it all up. Literally.
So I take whatever I see in ANY paper with a ton of salt.
Including this. I say bravo for holding together at all.
Serious gangster types are quite common in my neck of the woods. It's no picnic. I have actually had a pistol round handed to me with the additional comment that there was another similar item waiting for me outside. And that was just over a place to sit in a bar.
That's one of the tamer examples. Quite clearly, I wasn't shot upon leaving, but the threat was enough to sober me right up.
I would like to point out, however, that Moscow isn't generally a very violent place. Most of the serious violence is restricted to feuds between rival groups, which gets pretty insane. They don't usually touch innocents, it is very much against their quite strict code of conduct.