The Kovski Bratva
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- "Son of the world of thieves" The Kovski Bratva is a Slavic crime syndicate that was started by Mikhail Kvetsinsky and Nikolai Zaitsev inside the работа идет вперед prison labor camp near Tsaritsyn, Russia.
- 1917 - Mikhail was a Kapitan in the Imperial Russian Army fighting under Pyotr Krasnov when his unit was sent to Petrograd from the front to suppress the Bolsheviks, joining the counter-revolutionary White movement. Mikhail met Nikolai in Petrograd, Nikolai was a local leader of a civilian militia inside the White Movement. Both of them fought at and survived the final stand of Winter Palace, where Bolsheviks surrounded and stormed the compound, slaughtering soldiers and civilians defending their Motherland, taking the rest prisoner. Mikhail and Nikolai, along with around 250 soldiers and counter-revolutionary survivors from the siege, were held prisoner for a while, and then shipped south to the работа идет вперед prison labor camp near Tsaritsyn.
- 1918 - The soldiers and dissidents that came from Petrograd split up upon arrival, scattered across the large prison. The largest group from Petrograd that stayed together was only around thirty men, with Mikhail and Nikolai being among them. They all quickly decided that to survive this harsh new place they would need to integrate in with one of the gangs inside the prison. The работа идет вперед prison labor camp had multiple gangs and criminal organizations inside it, all locked in a constant power struggle. One of the more powerful gangs in the prison, the Solntsevskaya Bratva; ran by a Vor named Sergei Timofeyev, controlled a large area of the prison and had widespread influence. In exchange for their manpower and loyalty, the men were granted protection and extra rations from the Solntsevskaya. The men were told by Sergei to choose a leader from amongst themselves; with 2/3 of the group being soldiers, they voted for Mikhail, as he was their former leader. The rest of the men either being civilians or part of Nikolai’s militia, they voted for Nikolai. Mikhail was chosen to lead them by majority vote, and to make sure there was no bad blood with the civilians, he made Nikolai his second-in-command.
- 1921 - Mikhail Kvetsinsky becomes a Vor v Zakone (Thief-in-law) along with Nikolai Zaitsev. The leaders of the Solntsevskaya Bratva promoted Mikhail to бригадир (Brigadier), putting him in charge of a brigade made up almost entirely of men from Petrograd. The brigade and it’s men were called the Kovski, named after the small section of the prison they controlled. Nikolai Zaitsev was promoted to Bratok and joined Mikhail’s newly formed Kovski Brigade, once again becoming his second-in-command. Over the last few years the Solntsevskaya Bratva was able to gain much more power due to the surge of new soldiers to fight in their wars, taking control of almost half the prison. But as the Bratva grew, so did the discontent among the Brigadiers. Some brigades inside the Solntsevskaya grew too powerful, with some having enough soldiers and resources to take out other brigades within the Bratva. The brigadiers, realizing the power they had, started to plot against their fellow soldiers.
- 1926 - Sergei Timofeyev, Pakhan of the Solntsevskaya Bratva, dies suddenly of a heart attack at the age of sixty-four. Mikhail Kvetsinsky and Nikolai Zaitsev have both been waiting for a opportunity like this, and are finally ready to put their plan into action. The three most powerful brigades, the Chernoyarov, Ulyanovsk and Kovski all assemble as the Counsel of Thieves to decide on a new leader as Sergei did not leave a heir apparent. During the counsel meeting each Brigadier nominated themselves to take over as the new Pakhan, leading to arguments and resentment between the brigades. At one point during the meeting, Mikhail and Nikolai engaged in a argument in front of the attending, ending with Nikolai storming out of the room, acting enraged. Hours go by and no headway is made, with war between the three brigades seeming inevitable. The next day Nikolai goes to the leader of the Chernoyarov Brigade, Vyacheslav Ivankov, claiming that Mikhail and him had a falling out. After a long talk were Nikolai revealed some of the Kovski’s secrets that at face value seemed useful to Ivankov as proof of the feud, and to show that he should trust him, Ivankov accepted Nikolai into his ranks.
- 1927 - The работа идет вперед prison labor camp has turned into a battlefield, with multiple deaths happening every day inside the compound and out in the mines where they are forced to work. The prison compound has been divided into three parts, with any smaller Bratvas being forced to absorb into one of the three much larger Brigades. The Chernoyarov, Ulyanovsk and Kovski Brigades each controll a part, with all of them in a arms race for the last eight months while at the same time killing off each others soldiers. The process of getting ready for war takes much longer when in prison due to how long it takes to smuggle in or make each weapon and if at all possible a firearm. Nikolai Zaitsev had taken a high ranking position in the Chernoyarov Brigade, gaining trust and loyalty from their soldiers. Less and less prison guards have been making the rounds of the compound to do searches for contraband, as everyone knew that all out war could break out at any moment and the prisoners were more hostile than ever. A month later and word gets around that the leader of the Chernoyarov Brigade, Vyacheslav Ivankov, had his skull caved in with a pickaxe while he was working in the mines, and that Nikolai Zaitsev had been elected as their new leader. Nikolai was heard publicly saying that Ivankov was murdered by men from the Kovski Brigade and that they would have revenge for their dead leader, even though the rumor around the camp was that it was done by one of Ivankov’s own men.
- 1928 - For the last year, the Ulyanovsk Brigade ran by Vladimir Tsepov, the most powerful of the three brigades at war with each other has been making plans to take over the entire prison. Hearing of this apparent bad blood between the two other Brigades, he approached Nikolai Zaitsev, the leader of the Chernoyarov Brigade, to propose a deal with him. Vladimir stated plainly that Nikolai’s Brigade and the Kovski Brigade have no chance against him and his much larger force, and that he would take over the entire prison compound soon. But he said that if Nikolai helps him take out the Kovski Brigade, then he will let Nikolai live and keep his position as Brigadier in the new bratva that would form. After some consideration Nikolai agreed, and they made a strategy on how to deal with the Kovski Brigade in one fell swoop. Vladimir, using his large influence and funds paid off the night guards of the prison to leave everything unlocked and to stay inside their offices the whole night. Vladimir would pay for everything and supply Nikolai and his men with the weapons and even a few firearms, but they had to do the dirty work of sneaking into the Kovski Brigades territory at night and slaughtering them, mostly just the leaders, in their sleep.
- 1928 - The night the killings were supposed to happen, Vladimir and all the higher up of his brigade were getting drunk in their quarters, celebrating the fact that they were about to run the prison without having to lift a finger. As they were celebrating some of them started to smell smoke, then the smoke starting rolling into the building from the cracks of the walls with flames just starting to sneak through as well. Just as Vladimir and his men were starting to panic, they heard loud banging on the other side of the door, and when they tried to run and get out they found the door barricaded shut from the outside. The windowless building then started to be engulfed in flames. As the rest of the soldiers from the Ulyanovsk Brigade saw the flames and heard the screams they all came rushing out, only to find all the men of the Kovski and Chernoyarov Brigades heavily armed and surrounding them. A few of Vladimirs men tried to attack, but they were shot down before they could get to them. Everyone else just stood still and quite, the only noise being the roaring fire. Nikolai Zaitsev and Mikhail Kvetsinsky stepped in front of the crowd to speak, each holding a pistol. They yelled out that Vladimir and the rest of higher ups of the Ulyanovsk Brigade are dead or dying as they spoke, and that this war was over. They told them all that if they surrendered, they would live another day and be integrated into their Bratva. Refuse and they would be forced to start a slaughter that would not end until they were all dead. That night the Kovski Bratva was formed and was the undisputed rulers of the работа идет вперед prison labor camp, with Mikhail Kvetsinsky as the new Pakhan and Nikolai Zaitsev being his second in command as always.
- 1934 - The reign of Stalin is well on it’s way, and the gulags had already begun to overflow. For the last two years Nikolai Zaitsev had been planning to extend the reach of the Kovski Bratva into Ukraine, lining the pockets of guards and commissars to get an entire brigade transferred to a gulag near Odessa, Ukraine simultaneously. For a long time Nikolai had known the potential value of the port city Odessa; living there himself from 1911-1915, working in his uncle’s shipping company. 1912 while there he sired a child with a local Jewish woman named Golda Mabovitch, it was a boy who they named Artyom. Nikolai married her before returning to his home city of Petrograd to join the fight against the Bolsheviks in 1915, leaving his child to be raised by his long estranged wife and uncle’s family. Everything was set up and a few months later a prison train was heading for Ukraine, with fifteen men from the Kovski Bratva aboard, lead by Nikolai Zaitsev.
- 1938 - The Kovski Bratva has been thriving in Odessa with Nikolai running thing in Ukraine while Mikhail ran things in Russia. Nikolai had established a strong presence in Odessa, importing illegal goods through his uncle’s shipping company to smuggle into the gulags. Nikolai also reconnected with his son Artyom, now 26, bringing him into the Bratva to recruit soldiers on the outside, establishing territory within the city, and handle the smuggling operations at the docks. Lastly Nikolai made a series of alliances with the gangs that occupied the city and gulag of Odessa, with most either joining the Kovski bratva or paying tribute to them so they can stay independent.
- 1945 - Artyom Zaitsev, now 33, a Vor v Zakone and Brigadier in the Kovski Bratva, is serving the last five years of his fifteen year sentence in the gulag outside of Odessa. As the Second World War progressed, Stalin made an offer to many prisoners that in exchange for their military service they would be granted a pardon or a reduction of their prison-term at the end of the war. After the war ended, many such servicemen returned to prisons and labor camps, and were declared сука (Bitch) and were regarded as the lowest form of scum. As a result, they sought to survive through collaboration with prison officials, and in return got some of the better jobs within the prison. This groveling to the authorities, along with the сука involvement and experience in the Soviet military, led to an internal prison war called the Bitch Wars, between the military veterans and the leaders of the Russian criminal underground across the entire USSR. Many prisoners died in the Bitch Wars. Prison authorities turned a blind eye, since prisoner deaths reduced the overall prison population, also reducing the number of possible criminals who might return to the streets.
- 1950 - The Bitch War has been raging on for five years, with the Kovski Bratva fighting in their territories of Odessa and Stalingrad, formerly known as Tsaritsyn. Artyom and his Brigade have fought in dozens of battles since the start of the war, with his soldiers proving themselves many times. After five long years of constant war, and his prison sentence having come to a end, Artyom decided to look for business opportunity beyond their borders. Artyom decided that the United States of America was the best place, a place full of opportunity and wealth. After getting consent from his father Nikolai, Artyom set out for the new world with five of his most loyal soldiers. Almost a year later, after claiming refugee status and some having to get forged documents, they arrived at Ellis Island.
- 1955 - The Kovski Bratva has found a new home in Brooklyn, New York. The last five years has been a constant struggle to gain influence and respect in a Italian dominated city, but they also learned a lot from the Costra Nostra. While trying to run the Bratva in New York, Artyom did not make it in the image of the Bratvas from the old country, but instead bringing in new ideas and customs for it along the way, adapting so the Bratva could survive in the new environment. One of the first things Artyom did when he got to New York was purchase property; a large run down warehouse in Brooklyn was available for cheap. After some renovations the building has been turned into a boxing arena and is a legal business for the Bratva. They are also involved in multiple other rackets and businesses around the city.
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