(Submitted by Mr Odin)
Солнцевская братва: “Solntsevskaya Bratva” or the Solntsevskaya Brotherhood
Little Solntsevo. Named after the Mafia controlled neighborhood northwest of Moscow’s city center where one of the Russian Mafia’s most dangerous off shoots has been headquartered since the early 1980's. Little Solntsevo in Vanitas is roughly twenty by twenty city blocks but like any neighborhood it has grown and shrunk with the rise and fall of former Soviet bloc immigrants and the development of Vanitas itself. This area sits within one of the older city developments north of the casino district and occupies a small portion of the upper east shore warehouse district and harbor. Having a heavy presence in the smuggling of all things from people to black market electronics the Bratva has been making attempts, often violent, to push into the lower east side of the warehouse district in direct conflict with the Vigotelli Family in order to expand the Bratva's operations along the shoreline. With the 1990’s seeing a heavy influx of former Soviet bloc immigration the neighborhood is currently expanding reaching out past United Street to the west, the immigrants finding the corruption, crime, and violence to be not unlike their homelands.
The neighborhood consists mostly of smaller buildings when compared with the casino district, the taller tenements never more than fifteen floors high. Brick and stone make up the majority of the architecture, carts and stalls fill most of the streets during the day, cable lines high above the street often have clothing hanging out and drying on them in the warmer months, and all together the streets maintain a very old world feel to them. Many of the business signs and advertisements are in Russian or other Eastern European languages and the majority of the population speaks more Russian than English. While business owners will be more than happy to take a tourist's money the people of Little Solntsevo are typically wary of strangers, especially after night. Many of the families in this district are supported by working legitimately at the North Harbor and its various shipping companies. The Bratva also operates more than fifty businesses in the areas and provides protection for double that. A division of the Baltic shipping company at the North Harbor serves as the main base of operations for the Bratva while a combination restaurant hotel called the Mamaison Pokrovka, on 53rd and Aurora, serves as the gathering place for the high level Vory, the leaders of the Bratva.
Other places of interest throughout Little Solntsevo are listed below.
Named after Russia’s worst Gulag, this bar is a smoky hole in the wall frequented by low level members of Bratva operations. A few poorly maintained rooms may be rented out above the bar.
The St. Alexius church:
This Russian Orthodox church on Peters Street is the head of the cities Eastern Orthodox Christian organization. It is typically the sole place that members of the Bratva wishing to worship attend.
The Ural Markets:
Open air markets that set up under and around the overhead rail tracks on Ural Boulevard. These places are the prime location to legitimately find ethnic food, clothing, and items from the Eastern bloc, along with many of the comforts of the homeland. Illegitimately they are rife with low level pickpockets, dealers, and prostitutes if you know who to ask.
Many of the Vory of the Solntsevskaya Bratva emigrated to the US and Vanitas to escape the violent realignment of power that was crippling the New Russian government and crime organizations. In the early 1990’s many of the Russian Mafia’s crime families were splintered and the deaths were rampant, in 1993 alone thirteen family patrons were murdered. In order to escape this "house cleaning" the Bratva established a presence in Vanitas and began taking over the smugglers that had been around since the cities early inception. However with the boom of new blood from the homeland the brotherhood is branching out. Currently they bring in the majority of the city's heroin through their shipping interests connected to the Afghan poppy growers through the Baltic Sea. Hashish is another product that the Bratva floods the city with through connections in Afghanistan thru the Eastern Bloc. With the collapse of the Soviet Empire there is also a small but growing trade in Soviet style weapons brought into the city by the Bratva's various shipping fronts. Above all, the Bratva traffics in human beings, mostly poor girls from Russia, the Ukraine, Romania, Georgia, etc. They are brought here through the various shipping arms owned by the faction and are forced to labor in sweat shops or prostitution rings to work off their “debt”. The Bratva has been focused an increasing the volume and scope of all their operations within Vanitas by trying to chip away at the Vigotelli Family’s hold on the lower east side of the city.
Comprised entirely of Russian, Romanian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Georgian, Armenian, or Azerbaijani members the Solntsevskaya Bratva is a crime family in the truest sense of the Russian mafia. Any member that has been inducted into the ranks of the Bratva has done time; most of them have spent time in Soviet Gulags or prisons. There is a strict code within the Bratva and while the Vory v zakone, the Thieves in Law, are the only ones required to follow it the lower functionaries of the Bratva typically imitate this code to one degree or another wishing to be Vor one day. Many of the common principles of the code are listed below.
The members of the Bratva also are known for intricate and meaningful tattoos, most obtained in prison, that define their history and actions as a member in service to the brotherhood. These cryptic tattoos all have meanings mostly known only to other members or people that have made a dedicated study of them. Each tattoo is only obtained with the approval of a higher member in the brotherhood and is a significant event. These murals of ink tell the criminal life story of those who wear them and anyone caught falsely wearing a tattoo they did not earn would be subject to the most severe forms of punishment.
Some examples of recently incarcerated Vor are shown below.
Besides these traits the Solntsevskaya Brotherhood is known to be a organization that is slow to anger but when roused is capable of terrible violence. Since prison time is required to be initiated into the higher levels of the brotherhood many young members have no problem committing acts of arson, murder, and assault at the order of the Bratva. More than a few of the city’s historic running gun battles have been between members of the Bratva and Vanitas Police Department, the youths responsible captured, incarcerated, elevated within the family, and upon release full members of the Thieves in Law. This anger is typically slow to surface though. As an organization that has endured Soviet oppression and near extermination and with most members spending more than a decade of their lives in prisons, the Bratva is in no short supply of patience.
– The current and oldest Vor leading the Solntsevskaya Bratva. Semyon is a man of the Old world born in 1936 in a Russian village. During his time on this earth he has survived WWII, Soviet government crackdowns, political prisons, and gulags. He immigrated to the US in 1984, through various criminal means, when the Soviet Union still existed. Once established in Vanitas he immediately began rising to power in a branch of the Russian Mafia that had come up while he was imprisoned. In Russia it was powerful, in Vanitas it was nothing more than a fledgling trafficking and smuggling operation. Soon Mr. Veniamin was lifting the Vanitas Bratva to a status that all Vor could respect. Mr. Veniamin is a very patient man who embodies the aspects of the cold Siberian winters that slowly sap the life out of any who dare test their power. The old man always wears well tailored and well worn suits and is never alone, always accompanied by his functionaries and guards. His hair is an impressively thick shock of white atop his weather worn head and his voice still seems to carry the exhaustions of the labor camps though none would ever doubt his conviction.
– The right hand man to Semyon and current successor to his position, Yegor is a prodigy of criminal networks. Born in the Dnieper Basin in 1956 Yegor is of the old world and came over to Vanitas with the recent fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 quickly beginning to prove his astute ability to manage all the various fingers that the Bratva had in all the various pies of Vanitas. Yegor is a small man, bookish looking, and wears thick glasses over milky blue eyes. Though his frail looking form has often been presumed to mean he is weak the tattoos Yegor bears from his time in Soviet prisons indicate he is no stranger to murder.
Rostislav Timur “The Red Bear”
– The chief enforcer of the Solntsevskaya Bratva, Timur the Red Bear is a beast of a man. Born in 1960 in the Ukraine, Rostislav came to America with his parents when he was a small boy and was soon orphaned when members of an Irish crime family tried to rob his mother and father and ended up murdering them. Growing up on the streets of Vanitas Rostislav began using his prodigious size to his advantage and soon earned the moniker the Red Bear. Taken in by the Bratva as a "youth with potential” the Red Bear began busting heads as a low level functionary and was soon imprisoned for arson and assault at the age of twenty. Eight years later he was released from prison and began working for the newly arrived Semyon and Yegor and has been a power to be feared ever since.
Named after the Solntsevo neighborhood in the city of Moscow the Solntsevskaya Bratva officially began in the 1980’s. It is considered to be one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the world and is the largest faction of the Russian Mafia but the branch in Vanitas is not the main arm of this family. Despite all Mr. Veniamin had done the branch in Vanitas is still a fledging arm sent from its Russia headquarters to establish a foothold in the now open U.S. market. Steadily growing out of the Little Solntsevo neighborhood the Bratva is seeing an influx of members from the old Soviet bloc’s that are trying to escape the murderous reorganization process that is going on in the criminal world of the former Socialist Republics at this moment.
Establishing itself in Vanitas in 1983 the Bratva was nothing more than a small heroin trafficking group until Mr. Veniamin arrived from the old world in 1984. By 1991 the Bratva had carved out the Little Solntsevo district, made Vanitas a place for former Soviets to come to, increased the heroin and hashish markets two fold and had slowly begun the smuggling of arms and people from the blighted former Soviet Republics. In 1991 the growing Bratva enlisted Yegor into the higher echelons of Vor and he began to expand the operations, connections, and dealings of the brotherhood even further. Yegor was instrumental in forging deals with Don Cartigo, The Dixie Mafia, and the Vanitas Kkangpae. These deals of course were all minor things, mostly affirmations of who held what assets where and how infractions of such deals were to be handled, nothing groundbreaking as far as criminal networks go but they helped to secure the cities criminal world. The result was that things went very well until the Don’s death in 1996. With his death most of the deals flew off the table as factions began scrambling for the scraps that had fallen from the Don’s table. The Bratva secured its borders and its ranks after the Don’s death and has mostly sat back keeping their comparatively small but profitable businesses going.
The Bratva has no association with any legitimate authority in the city; it would be a direct conflict of their code to work with any official, even corrupt ones.
- While not a direct rival, are seen as worthless gutter rabble by the Solntsevskaya Bratva. Their lack of any code of honor or law makes them less than animals in the eyes of the Bratva. The brotherhood does nothing to directly attack the Jackals but the disgust that they have for the Jackal’s is no great secret in Vanitas.
The Vigotelli Family
– This is the primary rival of the Bratva due to the fact that the Bratva would like to control the entire eastern harbor and to do that they would have to remove the Vigotelli Family from the lower east side. While armed conflict has not been uncommon the conflict has switched to a more subtle nature as of late. The Bratva is actively trying to use every method it can legal and illegal to gather up land along the harbor front.