In the Soviet Union, a professional criminal society developed in Russian prisons during the Stalinist period—the era of the gulag. These criminals adopted customs, rules, and established traditions that unified them in what was to be called the "thieves' world." Led by the "vory v zakone," these criminals would develop to become the most influential figures in modern Russian organized crime.
It was presumed that Russian organized crime and the "thief in law" lifestyle was a myth. However, it was quickly established by law enforcement that it was not as they investigated the earliest cases of Russian organized crime in Los Santos.
Two brothers, both Liberty City natives, moved to Los Santos and quickly invested in a variety of industries and rackets. The duo managed to maintain afloat through their investments which included a nightclub and a clothing store. Unbeknownst to anyone, these brothers would play a more significant role in Russian organized crime for years to come.
Egorovskaya OPG grew out of the relationship between Kazimir Egorov and Leonid Tsaryov. The top level was occupied by the previously established thieves in law and the aforementioned duo. Kazimir Egorov is responsible for introducing Leonid Tsaryov to the thieves in law. This coalition ushered in a new era of Russian organized crime in Los Santos.
The main base of operation for this new group remained the same; "Little Moscow," a Russian neighborhood in East Beach that had been the home to several Eurasian organizations before it. To the left is an old photograph of Kazimir Egorov, Leonid Tsaryov, Maxim Kukulayev, and three unknown individuals suspected to thieves in law. It is one of the few times all of these individuals have been captured publicly at once.
With Egorov at the helm alongside Tsaryov, many of Tsaryov's old men were eliminated after rumors of a coup d’etat. These men were then promptly replaced with supporters of Egorov. Amidst this power struggle, Tsaryov stepped back and gave almost complete control to Kazimir Egorov.
Threats and the use of violence were the most prevalent method used by Egorov to acquire control and establish dominance over Los Santos. Although the Russian mafia was small and compact, it was organized enough to compete with bigger ethnic groups. The epitome of this cutthroat behavior exhibited by the Russian mafia came in the form of Bohdan Semeneneko and Sevastyan Muratov. In a 2017 hour long documentary of the Russian mafia in Los Santos, the narrator stated, “The Russian mafia disposed of anyone and anything that stepped in their way [...] because it was their mentality.”
At its peak, the Russian mafia was able to control pockets of Los Santos easily and managed to establish a number of legitimate fronts to protect themselves from lurking government entities. To the left is a photograph of Bohdan Semeneneko and Eduard Zharkov, two old prominent members of the Russian mafia. It was taken in front of Matryoshka, a former bar which was located in Princeton. Princeton was said to be the second most crucial location of the Russian mafia after "Little Moscow."
The success of this generation did not last as the group quickly became defunct after a number of arrests and the disappearance of critical figures. In 2018, Kazimir Egorov and three others were arrested after an undercover sting recovered a variety of weaponry, drugs, and illegal proceeds.
Others continued to operate within the shadows or simply retired from organized crime. In the summer of 2018, the Russian mafia was thought to be back, but it turned out to be a fluke. Law enforcement officials were no longer vigilant of Russian organized crime in Los Santos, and the focus shifted elsewhere, primarily to La Cosa Nostra clans.
It is said that the Russian mafia is working closely with Armenian Power gangsters to maintain Eurasian crime afloat in Los Santos. Michael Usumov and Denis Vershinin are the ringleaders of this newly organized crime group. Leonid Tsaryov and Maxim Kukulayev are the ones representing this newly established organized crime group abroad. With ties stretching directly to Moscow, the group is hoping to acquire a status of legitimacy within the eyes of old Russian mobsters.
This group faced opposition from another Russian organized crime group. It is rumored that this conflict is what led to the death of Kazimir Egorov and the mysterious disappearance of his son, Joseph Egorov. The validity of that statement has yet to be proven.
In essence, by mixing tradition and contemporary rules, the Russian mafia has shown it is fully capable of adapting and surviving in modern times. Currently, Russian organized crime is flourishing once more. With a new generation of Eurasian criminals emerging from the disarray left from their predecessors, the future is looking bright for this new era.