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Balalaika (バラライカ)Balalaika is the boss of Hotel Moscow. It is revealed in the novel that her real name is Sofiya Pavlovena, though this name is never used in her presence. She is sometimes referred as Vladilena reduction from Vladimir Ilich Lenin. She was brought up by her grandfather, the military head of the USSR. Before joining the mafia, Balalaika was a captain in the Soviet Army and a Vozdushno-Desantnye Vojska paratrooper who served in the Soviet war in Afghanistan. A fine marksman and sniper, she was nicknamed "balalaika", one of Soviet Army's slang terms for the Dragunov sniper rifle. Due to Balalaika's leadership during the hellish fighting in Afghanistan, her men look up to her as their superior and will do just about anything upon her orders. As a combat officer, she is a skilled strategist and well-rounded fighter, capable of taking care of herself despite the fact that all of her troopers, including Boris, often worry about her. Although she has shown herself to be rather cynical on occasion, she is also a pragmatic and professional businesswoman. She frequently employs Dutch and the Lagoon Company, apparently because they share a mutual respect.
Balalaika can be easily identified by the burn marks which scar most of the right side of her face, neck, and chest which she suffered in Afghanistan, earning her the nickname "Fry-Face" by those who dislike her. She has long blonde hair, and usually wears a military greatcoat, thrown over a low-cut business suit. She smokes cigars, in contrast with the other characters who smoke cigarettes. Based on her service in Afghanistan and the missed opportunity to participate in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, she is between 31–35 years old. She is one of the few people to earn Revy's respect. In turn, Balalaika also seems to hold Rock in high regard, sometimes relying on his knowledge and business skills.
In critical operations, Balalaika calls upon a personal cadre of ex-Soviet airborne troops and Spetsnaz commandos who are Afghanistan veterans. Known as the Desantniki, they act as Hotel Moscow's special ops team. When conducting foreign operations from Thai soil, she uses the Russian cargo ship Maria Zeleska as a legal cover from the police and various law enforcement agencies. In spite of the fact that Balalaika is on the Interpol list, she uses her real name in Japan, being covered by diplomatic immunity.
Benny revealed to Rock that Balalaika's men have enough training to start and win World War III if they wanted to. They were all Afghan Veterans with insane amount of training and skill. With Balalaika as the brains for their operation, her men became unstoppable killing machines.