The Russian Mafia (Русская мафия, Russkaya Mafiya), Red Mafia (Красная мафия, Krasnaya Mafiya), Bratva (Братва, slang for 'brotherhood') is a Russian Organized Crime group, rising to prominence in the political, economic and social turmoil following the fall of the Soviet Union. Russian organized crime has existed well before the fall of the Soviet Union, but it has hit its stride in the years since. During its formation, many members were veterans of the Russian Armed Forces, including members of the state intelligence group and secret police force, the KGB, who were suddenly out of work and had the skills to excel in the world of crime. While primarily a Russian organization, the Russian Mafia operates across the globe in a wide variety of criminal activities such as prostitution, drugs, gambling and extortion, though reportedly specialize in smuggling black-market goods and money laundering.
The Russian Mafia are one of the five factions in Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction. They are very different from all the other factions in the game, and not just because they are not an army representing a cause and nation. Unlike the Chinese, who want to annex North Korea, the South Koreans, who want to reunify North Korea with them under their government, the Allied Nations, who want to find North Korea's nuclear weapons and disable them and capture or kill Choi Song, and the North Koreans, who oppose the goals of everyone else, the Russian Mafia is in North Korea to work their way into NK society and engage in as much looting and war profiteering as possible while the fighting goes on. The Russian Mafia is in North Korea to make money, and they never pretend otherwise.
This selfish and materialistic goal makes the Russian Mafia an ideal potential friend, ally, and employer of the Executive Operations mercenary. Both the mercenary and the Mafia are not in North Korea for patriotism or any political cause- money is the primary motivation and concern for both of them. The Russian Mafia stands to make a truly spectacular profit if its operations in North Korea are successful, and they are more than willing to share that profit if the mercenary helps them along the way. However, the other factions all have strong disagreements with the Mafia, as they are unwilling to make room for organized crime in their goals for North Korea.
Though they wield immense financial and political power and influence, the Mafia is first and foremost a criminal organization and therefore has no major military presence in North Korea. However, its well-armed thugs and customized vehicles patrol the streets of many North Korean cities, including the capital, Pyongyang. The men working for the Russian Mafia go well-armed and even start fielding light attack helicopters during the game.
Most Mafia Thugs carry Type 85 Sub-Machine Guns and most Capos (officers) carry Shotguns. The Mafia Enforcers are equipped with RPD light machine guns, Dragunov SVD's, and RPGs. But the Mafia still have the lightest ground presence out of all the factions, with few men and no tanks or APCs, and very few helicopters. The Northern Province, however, has a vast presence of Mafia Technicals and SUVs, presumably since at this point, there is no Allied or NK navy blockade to stop their import.
Any land vehicle can be sold to the Mafia's chop shop. High-end vehicles (such as tanks) are naturally worth the most money. The less damaged the vehicle being delivered is, the more the Mafia will pay for it. They do not reduce payment if a vehicle has less ammunition than its full capacity, however. This is the only way outside of missions and killing NK, SK, or Chinese soldiers to raise the player's standing with the Mafia.
The Russian Mafia also runs the Merchant of Menace shop, which can be accessed via your PDA. This shop allows you to purchase vehicles and supply drops, as well as air strikes unlocked throughout the game. If the Mafia becomes hostile to the player, the player will be locked out of the shop. The shop also increases prices the more unfriendly the Mafia is to the player, and lowers it if they become friendlier.
If the player works with the Russian Mafia steadily and assists them in making higher and higher profits as their operations become broader and more daring, the game can end with the Russian Mafia firmly in control in North Korea if they are the most friendly faction to the player. The Russian Mafia never meant to just come to North Korea, make a big profit during the war, and then leave; they fully intended to settle in for a long and very profitable stay. Whether it is China or South Korea who absorb defeated North Korea with the player's aid, the Russian Mafia- if the player has consistently aided them- has a strong grip on North Korea and will not give it up easily.
- Thugs - The most basic Mafia soldier, thugs wear brown/orange shirts under a black jacket. They are typically armed with SMGs and, occasionally, shotguns and assault rifles. They are also the ones who commandeer the MD-530 Scout helicopters and Mafia Technicals, along with the helicopters that drop off vehicles for the player.
- Enforcers - The Enforcers are the Mafia's equivalent of the other faction's heavy soldiers. They wear orange-brown leather jackets with bandoliers of ammo across their torso, and are usually armed with Light Machine Guns or RPGs.
- Capi - The Capi (plural of Capo) act as the officers of the Mafia. They wear long overcoats, beanies and shades, and are usually armed with shotguns. Capi drop stacks of cash worth $5,000 whenever they are killed. The best places to spot these men are the Mafia chop-shops next to their HQs.
- Sergei Voronov - The Mafia's young, eccentric, and paranoid leader. He aims to make a name for himself as a respectable godfather, and will do anything to get what he wants. He is not afraid to betray and kill people he does not trust, and often risks the Mafia's secrecy by giving the mercenary increasingly bold contracts.
- Josef Yurinov - Sergei's lieutenant and ex-KGB killer. As an experienced soldier who has fought in theatres such as Kosovo and now North Korea, he is very intelligent and knows how to work things out before taking action. He prefers a more silent and discreet approach than Sergei does.
- Misha - A mafia thug who is promoted to the faction's lieutenant during the last quarter of the game.
- Mikhail - One of the thugs sitting on the couch watching TV inside the HQ. If the player chooses to 'pester' him when prompted, Sergei will state that if agitated he will "bite your ear off".
- Pavel - The bartender inside the Mafia's HQ. At certain times the mercenary can interact with the bar and order a drink for free.
- The Mafia HQ nightclub bouncer.
- A Capo stationed near the Mafia's chop shop in East Pyongyang.
- A non-officer Capo stationed near the Yongbyon chop shop.
- Three Mafia Capos supervising the Mafia's activities in Haeju.
- A group of thugs sent to help the mercenary verify the Jack of Clubs, along with securing a FROG-7 Missile Truck.
- Submachine Gun - Close range weapon of choice
- Shotgun - Close range weapon
- Assault Rifle - Standard medium range weapon
- Sniper Rifle - Long range and covert weapon
- RPG-7 - Anti-Personnel and Anti-Armor weapon
- MD-530 Scout (Also delivers supply crates to the mercenary) - Light scout and attack helicopter
- Mi-26 Cargo (Only delivers vehicles to the mercenary, cannot be flown) - Heavy transport helicopter
- Ka-50 Attack (Only seen during one mission) - Heavy attack gunship
- MG Technical - Primary ground vehicle
- GL Technical
- TOW Technical
- Hummer H2 SUV - Heavier ground vehicle
- VIP Sedan - Luxury ground transport
- FROG-7 Missile Truck (Must be stolen from the NK during the "Bait and Switch" contract so that the Strategic Missile Air Strike becomes available) - Mobile missile launcher vehicle
- Strangely, the Russian Mafia's insignia has a hammer and sickle, implying that they're Communist or at least Socialist. However, the Capos carry large amounts of money on their bodies and their shop is modeled after the free market system. Given that the Mafia is composed of many former Soviet intelligence agents, this was most likely for the sake of nostalgia or a display of their heritage on their part. The image could also be symbolic of their life of crime, as the skull over the hammer and sickle makes it resemble the Jolly Roger; the flag stereotypically associated with piracy. It may represent these former government agents turning over to a life of crime.
- It is possible to order free vehicles, weapon drops, and artillery from the mafia. The player must select the support item, throw down the smoke grenade, and select a support option (it does not have to be a different support item) before the smoke billows and the supplies will be free. This makes it easy to earn fast money and mafia friendliness, as the player can continuously call in expensive vehicles for free and then sell them back for money.