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The Brothers' Circle or Bratski Krug (Russian: Братский круг) [Criminal slang] (formerly known as Family of Eleven and The Twenty) is the name given to an international criminal group involved in drugs trafficking.[1] U.S. Department for Treasury officials suggest that it operates in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and the United States,[2] and has allegedly been controlled by Vladislav Leontyev, a Russian man from Nizhny Novgorod.[3] In 2011 the group was named by the Obama administration of the United States in the 'Strategy on Combating Transnational Organized Crime',[4] defining them as "A multiethnic criminal group composed of leaders and senior members of several criminal organizations largely based in countries of Europe. Many Brothers' Circle's members share a common ideology based on the thief in law tradition, which seeks to spread their brand of criminal influence around the world."[5]


Debate over existenceEdit

Mark Galeotti, an expert on Eurasian security has stated that: "I have not found anyone in Russian law enforcement or elsewhere who actually says 'yes, the Brothers' Circle is an organization and it exists. As such the label Brothers' Circle could be seen as an attempt to connect disparate criminal gangs."[3] In June 2012, with the designation of five more kingpins, Galeotti restated his opinion that the Brothers' Circle did not exist as a specific gang, but noted that the sanctions were in fact targeting members of Aslan Usoyan's criminal network.[6]

Alleged membersEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Treasury Imposes Sanctions On Key Members Of The Yakuza And Brothers' Circle Criminal Organizations".
  2. ^ "Russian mafia most powerful in the world?", 7 November 2011,
  3. ^ a b "What is the Brothers’ Circle?", 12 March 2012, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project
  4. ^ Hopkins, Valerie (26 July 2011). "U.S. Attempts to Combat "Dark Side of Globalization"". Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. Archived from the original on 7 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Remarks at White House Release of Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime".
  6. ^ "Another Go Round the 'Brothers' Circle'". In Moscow's Shadows.
  7. ^ "Treasury Designates Key Members of the Brothers' Circle Criminal Organization".