|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 country.
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.
- Balalaika shares similarities to the character from MGS3 "The Boss" only diverging in the nationality, but is unclear who inspired who.
- It's very possible that she serve for GRU or any other Russian Intelligence Agency or provide them an information. Reason behind such statement could be that her mission is to spy on everything and everyone, find edges of crime world and law enforcement, their capabilities. What makes it believable is in case of her arrest/kill nobody can blame Russian Federation for anything.
- Being pragmatic is a trait of Soviet/Russian army forces.
- By wearing Russian military coat she reminds to herself, her soldiers, and everyone else about who she and what Hotel Moscow is. It also could be because she is war veteran.
- 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 neutralize any interference with the operations undergone by Hotel Moscow. There are two such situations depicted in the Anime: the very first one seen at the end of "Bloodsport Fairytale" and the beginning of "Swang Song at Dawn" episode, with the "interference" being Revy and Eda, both of them suffering no damage. The second one is seen in the episode "Oversaturation Kill Box" with Revy and Shenhua getting 4 shots at both of them; 2 bullets hit both of them and suffer wounds in their limbs, with Revy getting wounded in her arm and Shenhua getting (possibly, as it's not clearly depicted in the Anime) wounded in her leg.
- Before/During Afghanistan war time, she had normal, shiny, "full of life" eyes. After the torture, fire, and war, she got an "empty" look in her eyes that almost every other character has. Since her face was burnt from the right side, her right eye is a bright blue, while her left eye is a "normal" deeper shade.
- She and Hotel Moscow could be in relations with Vietnam army forces.
- Balalika shares many similarities with Sir Intergra from Hellsing in appearance, mannerisms, personality and background. Both have very long blond hair and are fond of smoking cigars, capable military leaders and well rounded fighter who have earned the respect of their soldiers
- Despite being a very powerful person and leader of one of the major crime syndicates in Roanapur, nobody besides 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 are considered to be outsiders to the city.
- She regards herself and her unit as soldiers who missed a chance to die in the war. Same kind of behavior can be seen in Japanese Samurai - medieval "elite" troops who rose up to die in battle. But since they deserted the Soviet Army, one can describe Balalaika and Hotel Moscow as Ronins - outcasts of Japanese Samurai troops, who chose to serve themselves, instead of the master (in the case of Balalaika and Hotel Moscow, their "master" could be either USSR, Soviet Army or combination of both).
But most possible variant of describtion for them could be vikings, whose warriors rose up just to die in battle and go to Valhalla, since russians delivered from slavs, and slavs delivered from somewhat vikings.
- As Balalaika and Hotel Moscow are Russian, she's a very popular character among Russian fans of the Black Lagoon anime. Most of them discovered Balalaika first, then discovered the series.
- Although her hatred of American soldiers is shown by her talk with Caxton, she is never seen once mentioning the same hatred to Dutch who is supposedly an American Vietnam War veteran. Though it's revealed in the second 'series' Roberta's Blood Trail that Dutch saved Balalaika's life after she lost a shootout 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 delivers from nickname for the Dragunov Sniper Rifle. The name itself refers to a traditional instrument with a wooden triangle-shaped body and three or rarely four or six strings.