I just watched a documentary about them.
The legendary gang consisted of brothers Vladimir and Vyacheslav Tolstopyatov, Sergey Samasyuk, and Vladimir Gorshkov
For six years, between 1967 and 1973, the gang terrorized the Southern Russian (then Soviet) city of Rostov, robbing cashiers and money delivery trucks at will.
They always wore hose masks during their attacks
Those masks made them resemble popular, at the time, movie character Fantomas, leading to them being dubbed the "Fantomas Gang" in the media.
More interesting were their weapons. The above is a photo from "Once Upon a Time in Rostov", a movie about the gang that came out last year in Russia, to great acclaim
Vladimir Vdovichenkov (left) plays Vladimir Tolstopyatov, the elder brother and leader of the gang. I do pity Vdovichenkov. He is always stuck playing fucking thugs lmao Modern mafiozzos or retro criminals. Never a nice guy character for him. Just the way he looks hehe He doesn't complain though, he's done well out of that gimmick, money wise.
Anyhow, good movie, overall, but the depiction of their guns is not too accurate.
Here, are a couple of the actual Fantomas Gang guns and ammo, at the Central Police Museum in Moscow
These are entirely homemade weapons!
You have to understand, unlike modern Russia, where gangbangers can illegally get even AKs on the huge black market
back then, illegal weapons actually, truly were UNHEARD OF. The general population was allowed maybe hunting rifles, and that was that. The weapons in the hands of the military and security agencies were strictly and vigilantly kept track of, and an officer caught selling guns to gangsters (basically normal today) would have been thrown in the GULag or shot altogether!
Back then, most criminals didn't have guns, nor a way to get their hands on one. Unless they had someone like the younger Tolstopyatov, Vyacheslav, a genius inventor whose talent, unfortunately, was pushed in the wrongest possible direction by his older brother. Vyacheslav designed abd made these guns for the gang. He cut out the parts he needed on the machine at a factory where he worked, telling colleagues they were for various household appliances (it was normal back then for people with access to factory machibery to make own car or appliance parts to replace broken ones that were hard to find otherwise; and Vyacheslav maintained tbe reputation of a good worker and honest man; nobody suspected a thing) and then assembled them at home. His portable submachine gun was easy to conceal and yet packed a harder punch than an AK, piercing several centimeters of solid steel!
Keep also in mind, unlike modern Russia, where money transport, is just like here and then some, armored vehicles, heavily armed and geared men
back then, huge sums were transported in regular vans by an UNARMED cashier (often a woman), with a also unarmed driver with her, and that's it. Again, criminals had no guns, and most didn't dare engage in such brazen robberies. So, no need for much security. Soviet Sberbank didn't get armored trucks until late 80s!
Basically, the gang that was decades ahead of its time had it easy. They couldn't be stopped. They were ruthless too. In 1968, Grigory Chumakov, a brave WWII veteran tried to stop them as they rushed out of a store after robbing its cash register. Vladimir Tolstopyatov cut him down with the submachine gun. A man who survived Stalingrad murdered by cowardly scumbags two decades later... That was one of plenty of deaths on these guys account.
Even the police were not ready for them. Today, Russians are used to police with AKs and body armor, and SWAT-type units such as SOBR or OMON in many heavily criminalized regions are equipped like a military force: http://i.imgur.com/qb1r4Hl.jpg
Back then, there were no such units, and policemen usually didn't even carry guns on patrol!
Brezhnev-era Soviet Union was actually a very, very safe place, believe it or not... People REALLY miss those days today...
Well, just for this gang's sake, in 1971, were formed Mobile Police Groups (PMGs)
Issued first ever, experimental bulletproif vests, combat helmets, AKs, and pistols, and staffed with handpicked men, veterans of elite military units like the Airborne or the Marines, they were, essentially, USSR's first SWAT teams.
One of them was Aleksey Rusov
Barely 20 in 1972, Rusov had served in the Border Guard Troops, with an exemplary recird, and then returned home to Rostov and joined the police, and was quickly picked for a spot on a PMG squad.
In June 1973, Rusov and his partner would hear gunfire nearby. It was the Fantomas Gang. One if them had just shot dead a 19 year old worker at a nerby factory. The young lad saw them rob the factory cashier and attempted to stop them. He was killed, but not in vain. Rusov ran over therd fearlessly, saw the gang jump into a stolen Moskvich car (they stole cars for their every operation), and fired on them, striking Samasyuk, who would then bleed to death from the wound in the car along the way
(real photo from case file)
Long story short, Samasyuk died and the others were apprehended after a chase, as Rusov called in reinforcements
Rusov got a medal. The Tolstopyatovs and Gorshkov got a bullet in the back of the head for each of them, fitting punishment for at least nearly a dozen murders. Sadly, Rusov would die young, at only 48, as a result of radiation exposure he would suffer helping evacuate people from Chernobyl... He is survived by his wife and two children abd grandchildren by now too.
But, yeah, that's the story of maybe the worst gang in the Soviet Union. Trailblazers in their own, ugly way. There are rumors to this day in Rostov that, in fact, Vyacheslav Tolstopyatov wasn't executed, but spirited away by the KGB to some secret research facility, where his ingenuity would again be put to use as he spent the rest of his days designing new weapons for them. Who knows...