The Dysfunctional Mob has a plotline that relies heavily on Russian racism. It wasn’t intentionally it was a side effect of writing about the structure of the Russian mob in Russia. However, I realized as I was writing that most people don’t know about two of the main themes of The Dysfunctional Mob, Chechens are treated as second class citizens by Russians and Russians have a strange almost Matriarchal societal ideology.
Women in Russia are somewhat revered. They are not treated as inferiors but equals of Russian males. This was highly reflected in Soviet Culture by the freedoms women were given under Soviet rule. Even though the society is patriarchal in practice, like most of the Western world, Russian women have more power and equality than their counterparts in other parts of Europe and North America. As a matter of fact Russia practices matriarchal family structure, a matriarch has more say over the family especially the extended family than a patriarch. To most Europeans and Americans this is strange and for Russian immigrants to Western countries, the lack of female equality and respect for matriarchs can create a fair amount of culture shock. In the Dysfunctional Chronicles Melina is the Matriarch of the Zeitzev/Daniels family. Meaning not only does she have a say in the lives of her own children, but the lives of her nieces and nephews as well. Which is why Alex occasionally responds to Melina like she would a mother because in Russian society, Melina as the oldest female has as much influence on Alex’s life as Alex’s mother.
Theoretically, if Melina disapproved of Alex’s marriage to Sebastian she could stop the wedding by forcing Alex to have nothing to do with Sebastian. If Alex refused to cut contact with Sebastian after Melina told her to, Melina could have Alex ostracized from the Zeitzev family. Because of Melina’s status, it is more than likely that after Melina dies, Nadine will inherit the status of Matriarch regardless of whether she is the oldest (she isn’t she has several female cousins that are older than her) or not. Considering the force of nature that Melina has, if Nadine showed any of her mother’s personality traits, she would definitely become the matriarch upon Melina’s death.
So Chechens in Russia and the Russian mob: Chechnya is technically an independent state. It is located in the Northern Ural Mountains and is considered the southeastern most point of Europe. Chechnya’s independence is always questionable though and just because they are currently considered a separate state from Russia that could change at any time, especially with Vladimir Putin leading Russia. Chechnya has been independent since the late 1990s and anyone who remembers the 1990s remembers the bombings in Russia, especially those in Moscow and St. Petersburg by Chechen separatists.
Travel between Russia and Chechnya is fairly easy. However, Chechens living in Russia do not have it easy. For starters, most Russians consider Chechens to be second class citizens because culturally, Chechens are nothing like Russians. For starters, Chechens culturally are more closely aligned with Middle Eastern countries like Turkey than they are Russians primarily because Chechens are overwhelmingly practicing Muslims. Chechens have also rejected the Russian ideology of the matriarch which does not settle well with most Russians as this belief is very much ingrained into who they are.
To make matters worse, in the late 1990s, Chechen separatists were accused of blowing up former Soviet Bloc apartment buildings in an attempt to gain their independence from Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. However, it is generally agreed upon that Russian Secret Police were responsible for most of the bombings in their attempt to ensure Russia had reason to continue the war against Chechnya. While that is the opinion of most of the Western world, it is not the popular opinion inside Russia who believe Chechens are capable of just about anything, including blowing up innocents in apartment buildings. They have to cling to something to justify their dislike of Chechens without admitting to being prejudiced for no reason.
Since Chechens are treated poorly in Russia, they suffer many of the same problems as minorities in the US; lower wages, high poverty rates, and high crime rates. Which is where the Russian Mob comes into play. Crime pays much better than factory work for a Chechen in Russia and the Russian mob pays better than breaking into houses. It is also safer to work for the Russian Mob than to break into Russian homes. You never know which Russia is actually a member of the Secret Police and gun laws are lax in Russia, they may not have the right to bear arms like we do in the US, but regular citizens in Russia have guns.
This makes it so there are lots of Chechens in the Russian mob, the trick is that they can’t advance very far. A Chechen will never lead a faction of the Russian mob. He can be a killer, a robber, a gopher, an enforcer, a bookie, a pimp, a chemist for the mob’s expansive drug dealing rings, but he will never rise above those positions because he’s Chechen.
Surprisingly, a number of branches of the Russian mafia are run by women because of the Russian idea that women are equal to men and a Russian woman can advance further in the mob than a Chechen man. Like the Italian Mob, the Russian mob works in small criminal groups. They are rarely families like the Italian mob, but they refer to them as houses, so House B might be run by Ivan Ivanovich and it might have a serious ally in House A because the leader of House A is married to Ivan Ivanovich’s sister or it might be run by Ivan Ivanovich’s sister. Part of The Dysfunctional Mob relies on the idea that Chechens cannot advance to a high level in the Russian Mob and that there are houses within the broad term of Russian mob.