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You're reading: Al Capone, the Mafia and Ukraine’s criminal mindset

Last year, I was astonished by a restaurant in Dnipropetvosk called Al Capone’s. Located in the heart of the city of proletarian rocket builders, its criminal name seems out of tune with the city that for a long time was the cradle of the former communist elite of the Soviet Union.

You can imagine my surprise when, upon my return to Kyiv. I realized that the capital boasts a club, a pizza place and a restaurant that feature the same name. When I found a namesake restaurant in Vinnytsia, I realized it’s a trend.

As Wikipedia will tell you, Alphonse Gabriel “Al” Capone was an early 20th-century American gangster of Italian descent who headed a criminal syndicate. In particular, his gang ran an alcohol contraband operation during the prohibition era from 1919-1933.

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