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Mafia is a criminal community. Famous Mafiosi

Mafia - a gang, a grouping or just a bunch of bandits? Let's try to figure out what exactly this word means.

The term "mafia" today refers to any ethnic criminal grouping, in structure and organization resembling the ancestor of such communities - the Sicilian criminal "family", highly organized and having its own code of rules.

Where did this concept come from?

But the origin of the term causes heated controversy. There are very original versions, for example, the following: "Mafia" is an abbreviation for the words Morte Alla Francia, Italia Anela ("Death to all the French, Italy, breathe freely!") - a cry that was born during the uprising against the French in Sicily at the end 13th century.

According to Gabor Gellert, a journalist from Hungary, who closely studied the subject (13 years of work on the book on the mafia), this word should be understood in a more global sense, rather than a union of criminals. This is a socio-political and economic phenomenon, the emergence of which is natural in the world of capital. The meaning of the word "mafia" in the dictionaries in which it first meets (1868) is an action meaning insolence, boasting. Mafioso in the same dictionaries is a person who applies brute violence, or poverty, dregs.

There are also Arabic versions of the origin of the word "mafia". There are many consonant words with meanings: protection, shelter, security, chatterbox, gathering place. Alas, until the researchers got to the truth.

What the Mafia does

Organized unlawful activities are very diverse. Crimes of the Mafia:

  • Contents of brothels.
  • Trade in weapons.
  • Drug trafficking.
  • Making counterfeit money.
  • Gambling, casino content, gambling.
  • Pimping, the content of porn sites.
  • Purchase of stolen goods.
  • Usury.
  • Extortion, racketeering.
  • Knockout of debts.
  • Trafficking, abduction.
  • Ordered murders.
  • Smuggling, money laundering.

The sphere of interest of the largest and most influential groups is not limited to criminal activity. Their representatives are engaged in ordinary business (hotels, restaurants, etc.), lobbying, politics.

Code of rules

Any mafia, except perhaps the most low-grade, is a code of moral rules. For example, the Code of Honor for the organization of the Cosa Nostra included such rules as:

  • Always be on time for appointments.
  • Do not look at the wives of friends (and a member who has family ties with a traitor or traitor is punished by an exception from the gang).
  • Do not go to bars and clubs.

Below we will consider examples of the most well-known criminal communities. At once we will specify that the most part of the information on such groupings are hypotheses based on the fragmentary and casual data. It is clear that the leaders of such groups do not aspire to wide popularity.

Cosa Nostra

Many people who are familiar with the topic by hearsay, there is a persistent association: the mafia is the goat nostr. Let's try to figure out what these two words are. The phrase "goat nostra" in Sicilian is "our business". This term became widespread and became associated with any Italian mafia or mafia in general after the publication of the novel The Godfather.

Initially, the goat nostra is a criminal grouping that operated in Sicily since the beginning of the 19th century. For one century, that is, by the beginning of the twentieth, it has become an international organization. A little later I strengthened my position in America. It consists of 11 clans (families). It should be clearly distinguished: the goat nostra is a Mafia of Sicilian origin, regardless of its modern geographic location.

Italian and Italian-American mafia

It makes sense to connect them, because the American mafia is mostly immigrants from Italy, to be exact - from Naples, Calabria, Sicily. Today, the Italian-born mafia operates in at least 26 US cities.

Five Families

Influential group within the American mafia. Its backbone is represented by five families:

  • Bonanno;
  • Colombo;
  • Gambino;
  • Genovese;
  • Lucchese.

Of these, the most numerous (although according to some sources it is inferior to the Gambino family) and the Genovese family is influential. On her example, you can see what the Italian mafia is. The history of the family as a representative of the mafia began in the early 20th century.

Initially, it was the union of several small street Sicilian gangs, traded in extortion and bootlegging. Gradually the family expanded its activity, subordinating to itself significant parts of the market of gambling, racketeering and usury. About the change of the leadership of the family during the millennium can be removed fascinating multi-series film.


As mentioned above, the mafia is a highly organized alliance. Consider examples of groupings that are comparable in scope to their activities with transnational corporations.

  • Camorra and Ndrangeta are the two largest groups of the purely Italian mafia, without the admixture of "Americanism," although both groups have an extensive network around the world. The core of Camorra is located in Naples and its environs, the "head office" of Ndrangeta is in Calabria. Both are extremely rich, influential, are among the ten richest mafia communities in the world, are made up of clans with powerful family and marriage ties.
  • Bamboo union . The zone of influence is Asia, Europe, America. This is the largest grouping in Asia, the main backbone is Taiwan. In addition to being one of the richest criminal organizations in the world (the basis of earnings is the gambling business, killing and knocking out debts), it stands out because it is closely related to one of the main and influential parties of China (the Kuomintang), although these ties are actively denied.

  • Tai Huen Chai, or the Triad . About this grouping in the Russian Internet is the least information. The largest and most influential in China. The modern Triad is a huge underground criminal network, of which little is known. Supposedly the ancestor of this organization appeared even before 200 BC, under the name "Lotus Shadow" and traded in slave trade and piracy.
  • The Tijuana cartel is one of the two oldest and most influential in Mexico. Considering that Mexico is a famous transit point to the US drug market, the Tijuana Cartel is one of the largest drug cartels in the world.
  • Yamaguchi-gumi (Yamaguchi-gumi) is a Japanese mafia. It is not just one of the richest groups in the world. She is the leader in terms of income and the number of active members (from 55 to 220 thousand).
  • Sinaloa is a cartel operating in Mexico and Central America. The network covers some US cities. "Specialization" is the sale of drugs. The organization is considered the leader in this segment of criminal activity. She became famous for the special cruelty of internal fights, shocking shots with severed heads and dissolving enemies in acid sometimes get on the Internet.

Organized crime in Russia

It is believed that it appeared in the 60s of the last century, although there can not be a concrete reference point in principle. It is noteworthy that under the words "Russian mafia" in the West, there may be criminal groups not only from Russia, but from any country in the post-Soviet space.

The mafia of allied importance began its activity with small criminal formations of Jews who left the USSR in the 70-90s of the 20th century. Today it makes sense to distinguish between the Russian mafia (its representatives have Russian citizenship and operate on the territory of Russia) and the mafia with Soviet roots.

The most famous grouping is "Solntsevskaya bratava". It is considered one of the most dangerous and cruel in the world. The leader, according to rumors, is Sergei Mikhailov, nicknamed Mikhas.

Famous Mafiosi

A well-organized structure, be it a mafia, a grouping or an alliance, is impossible without the accumulating power of the leader. Of course, most of the current leaders are shadow. A little later we will consider the names, which on hearing and became legends.

  • Al Capone is a name on hearing, but it should be noted that it has long and firmly become history, because this man died in 1947 at the age of 48 years. The boss of the Chicago mafia, famous for being able to build a real criminal empire.
  • Pablo Escobar (Pablo Escobar) - the most famous Colombian drug lord, one of the most outstanding, if such a word can be applied to the criminal, the criminal world 20 th century. He not only earned his crimes, but he also administered his own justice, thus gaining the favor of the poor and youth.
  • Brothers Cray - twins from London, Ronnie and Reggie Cray from the very childhood were uncontrollable. Fists, aggression and high business ability, they managed to build an entire empire, and managed to successfully combine both the shadow business and the legal one.

  • Mayer Lansky (Belarus) - one of the few leaders of the criminal world, who lived to a solid age - 80 years (died in 1983). A Jew, born in tsarist Russia, for many years was one of the most authoritative people in the United States. Managed the largest shadow gambling syndicate. He became the prototype of the elderly Jewish mafia, Hyman Roth.
  • Frank Costello is another outstanding criminal authority from the US, only originally from Italy. For a very long time he was the head of the Genovese family and extremely successful in his affairs. He gravitated toward bloodless types of criminal business, such as illegal trade in alcohol and gambling. He did not deal with drug trafficking in principle, believing that without this there are full opportunities to make money. He also distinguished himself by actively establishing links between the mafia and politics and succeeded more than any of the criminal bosses.

Of course, this is far from all known criminal communities. Suffice it to say that many of them entered not only in criminal history, but also in the history of cinematography, so notable is the activity of well-known mafiosi from the point of view of analyzing the nature of man and the reasons for success, albeit in disapproved by the majority of activities.

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