Vory V Zakone from Shadowrun Sourcebook, Vice

The term Vory refers to Russian organized crime. In fact, the Russian mob calls itself "Vory v Zakone," which translates to "thieves following a codex" or "thieves inside of law."

Despite this, a lot of Europeans and Americans still call the Vory the "Russian Mafia".


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.[1]

Vory V Zakone (hierarchy) from Shadowrun Sourcebook, Vice

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.[1] Every couple of years, the Vory bosses will meet in a big formal gathering known as a Skhodki to discuss issues of strategic importance.[2]


Vory have a code by which they live by. The old code was one based on prison norms, as the Vory were born in the gulags of the Soviet Union. That has been replaced by a code whose philosophy is "do what works".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.[3] All members contribute to a communal fund (obschak), which is used to take care of those members whom have been incarcerated or their families. The Vory are the most violent and efficient criminal syndicate due to their willingness to "do what works".[4] 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.[5]


The Vory is comprised of

  • the Red Vory, which has strong connections to the government of Russian Republic, and
  • the exiled White Vory in western Europe and otherwise outside the Rodina.

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.


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).[6]

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.[7] Within Russia there are hundreds of Vory syndicates.[8] 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.[9] Their rivals are the St. Petersburg Vory (led by Vasily Romanenko) whom rival Moscow for influence over the Vory in Europe.[10] In Vladivistok, two of the three Vory groups are in a bitter war at the same time that the Triads and Seoulpa Rings are making inroads into the criminal markets in the area.[10]

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).[7] In Scandinavia is the Lobatachevski Syndicate, which dominates the underworld in those states. The Tremaine-Gullyev group 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 syndicate spreads across the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Berlin, and Königsberg.[2] In North America there are a dozen Vory syndicates.[8] The Maagen David Adom (Red Star of David) syndicate dominates crime in Israel.[11]

Countries with VoryEdit

Former Soviet Union:


Far East:


Middle East:


Vory GroupsEdit


  • Moscow Vory
  • St. Petersburg Vory
  • Vladivostok Vory 


  • Lobatchevski Syndicate 
  • Tremaine-Gullyev 
  • Paris Organizatsi 
  • Cherkezov


  • Tolo Vory of Hong Kong[27]
  • Povryejhda Syndicate of Seattle (UCAS)[22]
  • Maagen David Adom of Israel


  1. 1.0 1.1 o30783549Shadows of Europe p.34
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 o30783549Shadows of Europe p.35
  3. o33031982Vice p.76
  4. o33031982Vice p.77
  5. o33031982Vice p.78
  6. o33031982Vice p.79-80
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 o30783549Shadows of Europe p.30
  8. 8.0 8.1 o05084094Underworld Sourcebook p.76
  9. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.129
  10. 10.0 10.1 o70096438Shadows of Asia p.130
  11. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.110
  12. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.205
  13. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.36
  14. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.199
  15. o30783549Shadows of Europe p.40
  16. o30783549Shadows of Europe p.34
  17. o30783549Shadows of Europe p.34
  18. o30783549Shadows of Europe p.172
  19. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.149
  20. o39478620Runner Havens p.48
  21. o07914318Corporate Enclaves p.103
  22. 22.0 22.1 o33031982Vice p.80
  23. o65320053Hard Targets p.124-125
  24. o38715534Shadows of North America p.35
  25. o70096438Shadows of Asia p.110
  26. o57038227Target: Awakened Lands p.28
  27. o39478620Runner Havens p.48