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San Francisco:Russian Mafia

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These are some of the interesting tidbits I came across in my wiki research on the Russian Mafia.


  • Organisatsiya
  • Bratva= Brotherhood
  • Mafiya
  • Vory v zakone= Thieves in Law
  • Obschina= Community- the Chechen Mafia

Research Notes

To concentrate on the activities of these organized crime groups, the FBI established investigative squads in New York and Los Angeles in 1994, San Francisco in 1995, Miami in 1997, Philadelphia in 1998, and in Newark and Chicago in 1999.

Vory, Vor= thief

San Francisco Locations

The Tenderloin is often seen as the crime-infested underbelly of the city.

  • The Richmond, SF (@wikipedia)
    • The Richmond, the vast region north of Golden Gate Park that extends to the Pacific Ocean, today has a portion called "New Chinatown," but also attracts immigrants from other parts of Asia and Russia.
    • The Richmond District also features a prominent Russian community with many Geary Boulevard stores catering to a high concentration of Eastern European immigrants.


Western-style system, Moscow-based

  • Izmailovskaya Mafia (@wikipedia)
    • One of oldest, military style organisation- branches in Paris, Toronto, NYC, Miami
    • split into subgroups, each under the commander of an authority figure known as an avtoritet
    • ...obshchak, a fund used by members to bribe law enforcement and authority figures, and also to provide funding for defence should they be arrested...

St Petersburg, run Petersburg Fuel Company, links to the Duma

  • Malyshev's Gang

Rival Leningrad gang

  • Chechen Mafia (@wikipedia)
    • aka Obshchina=community
    • Recent reports estimated that the groups sphere of influence extends from Vladivostok to Vienna, with members involved in various areas of criminal activity ranging from automobile theft, money laundering, trafficking Chinese illegal immigrants to Japan, narcotics smuggling, and the illegal sale of plutonium.
    • links to Al-Qaeda, bin Laden may have asked them for nuclear tech

News and Articles

  • AmericanMafia.com "Go West, Young Comrade: The Russian Mob in America"
    • Loose or not, the structure of these organizations on both sides of the Atlantic remains basically the same. Each group is led by a boss, called a "pa khan," who controls four criminal groups, or cells within the organization, although, like the American Mafia, the Pakhan has only minimal contact with the men under him. Instead, he uses an intermediary called a "brigadier." In turn, the brigadier is watched over by two spies to ensure loyalty and to make sure he doesn't get too much power within the organization.
    • Allegedly, one Russian gang tried to sell the Colombians a Soviet-era submarine which would have enabled them to smuggle drugs into the United States easier.
    • However, tired of paying a tax to the Mafia and looking for its own kingdom, in the early 1980s the Odessa Mafia sent two groups of thugs to San Francisco and Los Angeles to build an organization there, while the leadership remained in Brighton Beach.
  • AmericanMafia.com "Russian Jewish Organized Crime"
    • The ethnic makeup of the Mafiya leadership is largely Russian or Georgian (64%). Among the remaining capomafiyas are found Armenians, Azerbaijani, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Kazakhs, Abkhazians, and Chechens.
  • I also came across the statistic somewhere in one of the above, that while the Italian Mafia and Colombian Cartels use about 15-25% of their operating funds for bribes, for the Russian Mob the figure is 50% which goes to corrupting officials.

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This page was last modified on 27 June 2010, at 10:25.
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