Hierarchy of the Russian Bratva

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Note that all these positions are not always official titles, but rather are understood names for roles that the individual performs.

  • Pakhan - is the Boss or Krestnii Otets "Godfather" and controls everything. The Pakhan controls four criminal cells in the working unit through an intermediary called a "Brigadier."[1]
  • Two Spies - watch over the action of the brigadiers to ensure loyalty and none become too powerful. Sovietnik (Support Group) and Obshchak (Security Group)
  1. Sovietnik - ("Councilor"), is the advisor and most close trusted individuals to the Pakhan, similar to the Consigliere in Italian-American Mafia crime families and Sicilian Mafia clans.
  2. Obshchak - the bookmaker, collects all money from Brigadiers and bribes the government.
  • Brigadier – or Avtorityet ("Authority"), is like a captain in charge of a small group of men, similar to Caporegime in Italian-American Mafia crime families and Sicilian Mafia clans. He gives out jobs to Boyeviks ("warriors") and pays tribute to Pakhan. He runs a crew which is called a Brigade (Bratva). A Brigade is made up of 5-6 Boyeviks and Shestyorkas. There are four Brigadiers running criminal activity in the Russian Bratva.
  • Boyevik - literally "warrior" works for a Brigadier having a special criminal activity to run, similar to soldiers in Italian-American Mafia crime families and Sicilian Mafia clans. A Boyevik is in charge of finding new guys and paying tribute up to his Brigadier. Boyevik is also the main strike force of a brigade (bratva).
    • Kryshas - literally "roofs", "covers". Those are an extremely violent "enforcers" as well as cunning individuals. Such enforcer is often employed to protect a business from other criminal organizations.
    • Torpedo – "Contract killer" [2]
    • Byki - bodyguards (literally: bulls)
  • Shestyorka - is an "associate" to the organization also called the "sixth", similar to associates in Italian-American Mafia crime families and Sicilian Mafia clans. Is an errand boy for the organization and is the lowest rank in the Russian Mafia. The sixthes are assigned to some Avtorityets for support. They also provide an intelligence for the upcoming "dielo" or on a certain target. They usually stay out of the main actions, although there might be exceptions, depending on circumstances. During a "dielo" Shestyorkas perform security functions standing on the look out (Shookher - literally: danger). Shestyorkas are usually young males up to 24 years of age (approximately) and are Vory in training, so to speak. It is a temporary position and an individual either making it into the Vor-world or being cast aside. As they are earning their respect and trust in Bratva they may be performing roles of the regular Boyeviks or Byki depending on the necessities and patronage of their Brigadier or Avtorityet. Etymology of 'shestyorka' word comes from the lowest rank of 36 playing card deck - sixes.

Four groups[edit]

These are the four groups in which the Russian mafia is made of.[1]

  1. Elite group – led by a Pakhan who is involved in management, organization and ideology. This is the highest group controls both support group and security group.
  2. Security group – is led by one of his spies. His job is to make sure the organization keeps running and also keeps the peace between the organizations and other criminal groups and also paying off the right people. This group works with the Elite group and is equal in power with the Support groups. Is in charge of security and in intelligence.
  3. Support group- is led by one of his spies. His job is to watch over the working unit collecting the money while supervising their criminal activities. This group works with the elite group and is equal in power with the Security group. They plan a specific crime for a specialized group or choose who carries out the operation.
  4. Working Unit – There are four Brigadiers running a criminal activity in the working unit. Each Brigade is controlled by a Brigadier. This is the lowest group working with only the Support group. The group is involved in burglars, thieves, prostitution, extortion, street gangs and other crimes.

In the Russian Mafia to become a "Vor" (plural: Vory) (a Thief) is an honorary title meaning to become a made man. The honor of becoming a Vor is only given when the recruit show’s considerable leadership skills, personal ability, intellect and charisma. Pakhan or another high-ranking member of an organization can decided if the recruit will receive such title. When you become a member amongst the Vor-world you have accept the code Vor v Zakone or Thief inside the Law (compare to outlaws).[3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Russian Organized Crime: Organization and Structure 1993
  2. ^ Lindsay Haselton The Emergence of the Russian Mafia YETT Young Experts Think Tank
  3. ^ James O. Finckenauer and Elin Waring. Challenging the Russian Mafia Mystique. National Institute of Justice Journal. April 2001. [1]
  4. ^ Stephen L. Mallory. Understanding Organized Crime. 2007. (pg.76-78)