|Age||31 to 35|
|Weapon||Dragunov sniper-rifle, Stechkin APS|
|Manga||Chapter 00: Black Lagoon|
|Anime||Episode 01: The Black Lagoon|
|Japanese Anime Voice||Mami Koyama|
|English Anime Voice||Patricia Drake|
Balalaika (バラライカ, Bararaika) is the boss of Hotel Moscow. Her real name is Sofiya Pavlovna, but that name is not used in her presence. She was brought up by her grandfather, the high-ranking military head of the USSR. Balalaika's father has presumably either been condemned by the USSR or fled the USSR.
Balalaika is a tall, blonde haired blue eyed woman with scars across her face, neck, breasts, and leg. Her hair is very long, going down to the base of her spine, and done up in a huge ponytail. She is usually seen wearing a wine red skirt suit with black stockings and black high heels. Her nails are long, and painted pink. She also wears rose colored lipstick. She has a mole under her left eye. At times, she wears a Russian military coat draped off her shoulders.
Before joining the mafia, Balalaika was a captain in the Soviet Army, Vozdushno-Desantnye Vojska'(translate from Russian: air assault troops) paratrooper and a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan. A fine marksman and sniper, she received the nickname "Balalaika" (one of the Soviet army's slang terms for the Dragunov sniper-rifle).
Balalaika can be easily identified by the burn marks which scar most of the right side of her face, neck, breasts and leg which she sustained in Afghanistan, earning her the nickname "Fry-Face". She is usually shown smoking a cigar, in contrast with the other characters who smoke cigarettes. In view of her participation in the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the missed possibility to take part in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, it is possible to define her age between 31 and 35 years.
In April of 1986, while on an international illegal operation outside of Soviet territory, Balalaika and her unit saved a child who was in a refugee camp. The media recorded the event that led to the “Voluntary Discharge” of Balalaika and her unit; promptly deserting the Soviets forces.
Balalaika arrived in Roanupur in 1993, which lead to a large-scale conflict with the already-established Triads under Chang's leadership. Rather than destroy the city, a peace was brokered between the rival criminal organizations by Dutch.
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 Japan, she uses the pseudonym Vladilena N. Vasilinov to waltz audaciously through a law enforcement barricade by claiming to be covered by diplomatic immunity in the Fugiyama Gangsta Paradise story arc. She also gives her name as Jane Doe to Caxton in El Baile de la Muerte.
PersonalityEditDue 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 for 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 regards herself and her men as soldiers who missed their chance to die in Afghanistan. While some of her actions can be interpreted as attempts to pursue an honorable death in combat for her men, Balalaika's status as a military figure is tempered by her role in the criminal underground. She agreed to a pact with Chang's Triads in 1993 and backed away from engaging Caxton's American soldiers in combat after Chang reminded her of their un-concluded fight. Presumably, Balalaika opted for a future battle with Chang over a present opportunity to engage the American unit, which she regards as a foil to her own disgraced Soviet unit.
Balalaika is also one of the few people to earn the respect of Revy, who calls her "Sis". In turn, Balalaika also seems to hold Rock in high regard, sometimes relying on his knowledge and business skills as well as hiring him as a translator. It is very unclear what her relationship with Rock is at this point.
- If you are aware of any Balalaika "trivia", please do not hesitate to edit/contribute here. Thank You.
- Balalaika shares similarities to the character from MGS3 "The Boss" only diverging in the nationality,but is unclear who inspired who
- She has stated in the anime that she doesn't like cold blintzes (a type of pancake).
- In the First Popularity poll, Balalaika ranked 2nd place with 677 votes.
- Balalaika doesn't hesitate to neutralise any interference with operations of Hotel Moscow. There's two such situations depicted in the Anime: the very first one seen at the end of "Bloodsport Fairytale" and the begining of "Swang song at dawn" episode, with "interference" being Revy and Eda, both of them suffering no damage. Second one seen in episode "Oversaturation Kill Box" with "interference" being Revy and Shenhua, getting 4 shots at both of them, making 2 bullets for each of them, both suffering wounds in limbs, with Revy getting wound in each arm and Shenhua getting (possibly, as it's not clearly depicted in Anime) wound in each leg.
- Before/During Afghanistan war time she had, normal, shiny, "full of life" eyes. After the torture, fire, and war, she got an "empty" sort of eyes, that almost every other character has.
- Since her face was burnt from the right side, she has her right eye more bright blue, while her left eye is more deep blue.
- Despite being very powerful person and leading one of major crime force of Roanupur, nobody beside Mr. Chang's Triads and Black Lagoon Company give her respect. She herself seems to be used to that kind of behavior towards her. Most possibly because she and Hotel Moscow considered to be outsiders to the Roanapur.
- She regards herself and her unit as soldiers who missed an chance to die in the war. Same kind of behavior can be seen in Japanese Samurai - medieval "elite" troops who rised to die in battle. But since they deserted the Soviet Army, one can discribe Balalaika and Hotel Moscow as Ronins - outcasts of Japanese Samurai troops, who choose serve themselfs, instead of Master (in case of Balalaika and Hotel Moscow, their "master" could be either USSR or Soviet Army or mix of both of them)
- As Balalaika and Hotel Moscow are russians, she's very popular character among russian fans of Black Lagoon Anime. Mostly of them discover Balalaika first, then discover Black Lagoon anime.
- Although her hatred of American soldiers is shown by her talk with Caxton she never is seen once mentioning the same hatred to Dutch who is supposedly an American Vietnam War veteran. Though it's revealed in the 2nd 'series' Roberta's Blood trail Dutch saved Balalaika's life after she lost a shoot out with Mister Chang on the boat docks.
- In the anime, she stated that she listens to, or at least is aware of the American new wave band "Oingo Boingo"
- Balalaika's name seems to be based off the Balalaika musical instrument from Russia. It's a traditional instrument with a wooden triangle-shaped body and three or rarely four or six strings.