The story begins with Sasha Belov
(White) returning to his
tough neighborhood in Moscow after completing his
enlistment in the Red Army
old buddies Cosmos and Pychela (Bumblebee) engaged in petty crime.Cosmos is spoiled by his
father, a well-connected professor of astrophysics with a young second wife, and rolls around the neighborhood in a flashy Lincoln Town Car.Cosmos and Pychela tell Sasha
that they can work together and make a lot of money in the new perestroika -era Moscow.Unfortunately, Cosmos and Pychela also have bad news for Sasha
girlfriend, who was supposed to wait for him to get out of the army, is now a whore.
1989 - Just four Russian boys in the hood ... With Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus blaring in the background, Sasha calmly picks up a set of brass knuckles and walks down to the night club where his girlfriend is working as a prostitute, and beats up her pimp.
Sasha's girlfriend begs for his
forgiveness, but he
to leave him the hell alone.Her
pimp wants revenge and so Sasha
offers to take him on in a fistfight to settle the score.After beating up the guy (again), Sasha
becomes a regular at boxing matches where his friend Phil (Vladimir Vdovichenkov) fights for money.
...At one of these fights, the pimp gets shot to death and Sasha is framed for the murder by the victim's vengeful cousin, a detective in the MVD (Andrei Panin).
The "brothers" and their girls for the evening escape, but Sasha
is wounded, and they decide to go into hiding outside Moscow.Sasha swears loyalty to Cosmos, Pychela and Phil, and they become "The Brigade".
Sasha meeting the beautiful Olya ...
While keeping a low profile in the countryside, Sasha
meets the beautiful violinist Olya (Yekaterina Guseva), and they get married.
returns to Moscow after Cosmos' father uses his
connections to help Sasha find a lawyer and be cleared of the bogus murder charge.Sasha's nemesis, the MVD Detective, is fired from his
job when the Soviet Union collapses and he
is left to fend for himself.The Detective's resentment of the youths who thrive amidst post-Communist chaos is evident in every episode, as he
plots with rival gangs and corrupt officials to undo Belov
, played by Sergei Bezrukov
Deciding that ruining Artur is the best revenge, Belov
arranges for his
business partner's huge aluminum shipment to be stolen.Artur is forced by the Detective and his
ex-KGB fixers to sign a confession and run away from his
creditors.The Brigade then throws a party for their maimed lawyer at the hospital and they give his
devastated wife a hefty check for her
From this point, the storyline is fairly predictable, focusing primarily on marital tensions between the respectable middle class artist Olya and her
has to personally accompany the bodies on a plane back to Dushanbe in Tadjikistan to reassure Farkhad's family that he
did not betray his
Sasha's revenge, as it plays out while he
respectably sits with his
wife in a concert hall box, pays tribute to the closing montage in Godfather III.In another sly tribute to the Godfather trilogy, Belov
agrees to baptize his
son (born on October 3, 1993, the day the West's darling Yeltsin, the hero who foiled the 1991 coup against Gorbachev, shelled the rebellious Russian parliament).While standing on the church steps, he
siloviki patron going into the Orthodox church with his
family.The next scenes show Belov playing tennis with an aged businessman at the Moscow Tennis Club
.In a subtle dig at the abuses of "non-profits" in Russia, Belov
tells the old man about his
plans to start a charity called the "Restoration Fund" to fix up old churches and historic buildings.In reality, Belov wants to exploit a lucrative tax exemption from the Kremlin so he
can import luxury goods (during the 1990s, the Russian Orthodox Church
was the largest tax exempt distributor of alcohol and oil in the country).
1994- Sasha Belov's
government patron tries to talk him into selling guns to Chechnya.When Belov
"partners" hire contract killers to murder him.Phil ends up taking a bullet for his
In the Autumn of 1994, Belov
is approached by his
siloviki handler with an offer he
can't refuse: Belov
must run guns into Chechnya, because people "very high up" in the Kremlin want to support friendly factions in the rebellious province.The Detective, having decided to destroy Sasha
's gang from within by turning the brothers against eachother, tells Sasha that "Chechnya is a gold mine" and urges him to agree to smuggle arms.Sasha
is hesitant, which his
siloviki contact warns him could be bad for his
health.A few days later, assassins try to gun Sasha
down in front of his
apartment as his
mother and wife look on in horror.Belov's bodyguards kill the assailants, but Phil is wounded.After Sasha
flees to a dacha in the countryside to negotiate an end to the war with a rival mobster, Phil confronts his
old friend by telling him "the higher you go, the more shitty you've become to me...I saved your life today".