The Russian Mafia were founded back in the early 1900s when Russian-American immigrants came to New York City and Los Angeles, over 1,250,000 coming to the USA. The "Bratva" (brotherhood) had a family structure identical to that of the Italian Mafia, as it had a Don, Underboss, Caporegimes, etc.
The Russian Mafia had a formidable presence in the United States in the early 1900s, but the real Russian crime wave came in 1989 when the second hoardes of Russian immigrants came to America, and in 1992, the biggest Russian immigration wave came in as the Soviet Union collapsed. The Faustin crime family, Petrovic crime family, and Bulgarin crime family, the three greatest Russian crime families, came to New York City in 1989-1995, and they set up criminal operations there.
The Russian Mafia are brutal, having no sense of forgiveness, and use chainsaws for torture constantly. The Russians deal with racketeering, loan sharking, pornography, drug dealing, and other vices. They act mainly as arms dealers, supplying the Ballas gang in 1992 during the GSF-Ballas War.During the 2000s, when Eastern European immigration continued to increase after the fall of the USSR, more men joined the Russian Mafia. Niko Bellic, a Serbian immigrant, did tasks for Russian mob bosses Mikhail Faustin and Dimitri Rascalov after having had experience with Ray Bulgarin in the Adriatic slave trade back in Europe. The Russian Mafia in New York City was weakened in 2008 due to Mikhail Faustin's mental deterioration, leading to him dragging the Faustin crime family into a war with the Petrovic crime family that forced Dimitri Rascalov to send Niko to kill Faustin as a part of a peace treaty. Later, Rascalov decided to whack Niko as a part of an agreement with Bulgarin, who claimed that Niko stole money from him. By year's end, Rascalov was killed by Bellic and Bulgarin was killed by Luis Lopez, wiping out their families. The only remaining Russian crime family in New York was the Petrovic crime family of Kenny Petrovic, who could take over all of the Rascalov/Faustin and Bulgarin fronts. The Petrovic family remains the strongest family in the United States, with Kenny Petrovic acting as the "boss of all bosses" in America - he controls Russian organized crime across the country's major cities.