Vory, image (Shadowrun Sourcebook, Vice)
Vory V Zakone from Shadowrun Sourcebook, Vice

The term Vory refers to a form of organized crime which originated in the former Soviet Union. In fact, the Russian mob calls itself "Vory v Zakone," which translates to "thieves following a codex" or "thieves inside of law." Within the Vory, there are not only Russian syndicates but also Georgian, Armenian, Chechen, Belorussian, Ukrainian, Azeri, and Jewish mafias. Despite this, a lot of Europeans and Americans still call the Vory the "Russian Mafia".

Thieves In LawEdit

The Vory were born in the gulags of the Soviet Union.[1] They are the most violent and efficient criminal syndicate due to their willingness to "do what works".[2] Since they are unable to match the other major syndicates in money and manpower, their main public relations tool is intimidation. Blunt brutality is their go-to negotiation technique and hit every confrontation at full charge, loud and raging.[3]


Vory HierarchyEdit

The Vory V Zakone are a loosely affiliated federation of syndicates. They originated in the old thieves' networks within the gulags of old Russia. Each group is led by either a man of power or a small oligarchy. At the top is the boss, who is either an Avtoritet or a Vor. Advising the boss is the advisor and 2nd in command, the sovetnik. Managing the day-to-day activities of their operations and running the supply group (the "grappa obespechine") are the liderie, which literally means "little leaders". At the bottom of the pyramid are the low-level enforcers and thugs, the shestiorka. The bosses rule the members are via the use of fear and violence.[4]

Vory V Zakone (hierarchy) from Shadowrun Sourcebook, Vice

Vory MeetingsEdit

Frequently these syndicates are at war with each other. Increasingly to prevent things from spiraling out of control, the leaders of the warring syndicates will resolve their conflict via informal meetings called streika.[4] Every couple of years, the Vory bosses will meet in a big formal gathering known as a Skhodki to discuss issues of strategic importance.[5]


Vory CodeEdit

Vory have a code by which they live by. The old code was one based on prison norms. That has been replaced by a code whose philosophy is "do what works". All members are required to maintain a public image. Insults results in swift retaliation that ends in maiming or death. Traitors are tortured and killed.[1] All members contribute to a communal fund (obschak), which is used to take care of those members whom have been incarcerated or their families.[2]


Racism runs deeply in Russian culture, but is not directed toward the Awakened or metahumans. Russian bigotry is toward those whom are not Russians, those of another ethnicity. The Red Vory are examples of this, but the White Vory have been forced to adapt somewhat being in a new land. Though they would still prefer to recruit, hire, or do business with a Russian.[6]


Unlike other syndicates, the Vory don't feel superior to shadowrunners and if they deliver, they think they're great. Vory use shadowrunners more often than other syndicates. Vory "Johnsons" are extremely violent and know only one way to solve problems, kill everyone. They will assist you if asked, but will charge you.[7]


The Vory is comprised of

Both factions hate each other's but frequently have to work together, because a lot of the products (weapons, BTLs, chemical drugs, prostitutes, stolen artifacts and resources) sold by the White Vory come originally from the Red Vory in Eastern Europe.


Criminal EnterprisesEdit

Like the other major organized crime groups, the Vory V Zakone are involved in a wide variety of criminal activities. These include drug trafficking, arms smuggling, trafficking of BTL chips, prostitution, data brokerage, Matrix crimes, protection rackets, loansharking, and white collar crime (fraud).[8]

Red VoryEdit

As of 2072 AD, the Red Vory are firmly entrenched in Russia dominating criminal activity throughout the nation and cast their shadow throughout Eastern Europe.[9] Within Russia there are hundreds of Vory syndicates.[10] The Moscow Vory (led by Andrei Petschukov ) are the most powerful in the nation, with influence over Russian syndicates not only in Russia but also in Europe.[11] Their rivals are the St. Petersburg Vory (led by Vasily Romanenko ) whom rival Moscow for influence over the Vory in Europe.[12] The Vory in Kiev are another influential group, whose influence reaches the Lobatchevski Syndicate.[13]

White VoryEdit

The White Vory in turn have established themselves in Western Europe, the Middle East, and North America. When they migrated to Europe, the White Vory conquered a huge slice of the underworld economy in northern Europe, territory north of a line running from Paris (France) to Sofia (Bulgaria).[9] In the Scandinavian Union is the Lobatchevski Syndicate, which dominates the underworld in those states. The Tremaine-Gullyev Organizatsi operates in the United Netherlands and has footholds in half of the European ports along the Atlantic. Paris Organizatsi controls most of northern France. The Cherkezov Organizatsi spreads across the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Berlin, and Königsberg.[5] In North America there are a dozen Vory syndicates.[10] The Maagen David Adom (Red Star of David) syndicate dominates crime in Israel.[14]

Vory V Zakone, Map (customized map from ShadowHelix)

Vory V Zakone (Nations with Vory)

Russians versus the RestEdit

Mafia RegionsEdit

The Vory as noted before have had spectacular success in Europe, making huge gains at the expense of the local European gangs and syndicates, including those that will go on to form the European Mafia the Alta Commissione and create the European Mafia. In North America, they have not had anywhere near the degree of success as in Europe but they are establishing themselves in multiple cities in the UCAS and are growing their operations.

The Far East and South AmericaEdit

When it comes to outside of Europe and North America, they have had much less success expanding their empire into the territories of the other major crime syndicates. In the homeland of the Yakuza, they have established a solid foothold in the Neo-Tokyo sprawl, but do not appear to have spread any further.[15]

In China, the Vory have managed to actually establish themselves in Hong Kong though they appear to have taken care not to challenge the Triads nor have they made inroads into other parts of China.[16] No Vory are yet to be found in South America, the backyard of the Ghost Cartels nor in Aztlan the David Cartel's turf.

Back in RussiaEdit

The Vory have been able to keep rival syndicates out of Russia for decades but times are changing. Originally it was only in the distant remote far eastern corner of Russia where they had lost ground to foreign syndicates as the Korean Seoulpa Rings and Chinese Triads entrenched themselves and steadily expanded their operations in the city, and the Yakuza established a foothold.[17][18] Recently the Triads, Seoulpa Rings, and Yakuza have been expanding to other cities across Russia.[19]

Nations and City-States with VoryEdit

Former Soviet Union:


North America:

Rest of the World:

Major Vory GroupsEdit



North America:

Far East:

Middle East:


  1. 1.0 1.1 o33031982Vice p.76
  2. 2.0 2.1 o33031982Vice p.77
  3. o35238545Shadowrun Fifth Edition Core Rulebook p.34
  4. 4.0 4.1 o30783549Shadows of Europe p.34
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 o30783549Shadows of Europe p.35
  6. o33031982Vice p.78
  7. o02196230Run Faster p.208
  8. o33031982Vice p.79-80
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 o30783549Shadows of Europe p.30
  10. 10.0 10.1 o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.76
  11. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.129
  12. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.130
  13. o30783549Shadows of Europe p.35
  14. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.110
  15. o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.103
  16. o39478620Runner Havens p.48
  17. o94379615Target: Smuggler Havens p.52
  18. o33031982Vice p.76
  19. o34954845Sixth World Almanac p.151
  20. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.205
  21. o85679541Sprawl Survival Guide p.77
  22. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.199
  23. o30783549Shadows of Europe p.40
  24. o30783549Shadows of Europe p.34
  25. o30783549Shadows of Europe p.34
  26. o30783549Shadows of Europe p.172
  27. o64432313Feral Cities p.125
  28. 28.0 28.1 o33031982Vice p.80
  29. o65320053Hard Targets p.124-125
  30. o38715534Shadows of North America p.35
  31. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.74-75
  32. o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.74-75
  33. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.149
  34. o39478620Runner Havens p.48
  35. o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.103
  36. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.110
  37. o49943949Cutting Aces p.52-53
  38. o57038227Target: Awakened Lands p.28
  39. o13148767Lockdown p.48-49
  40. o65320053Hard Targets p.24-26
  41. o39478620Runner Havens p.48
  42. o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.98
  43. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.149
  44. o49943949Cutting Aces p.52-53


External LinksEdit