Ex-Soviet Airborne Captain. She now leads the Hotel Moscow mafia in Roanapur. She's a strong business woman who runs her organization with military efficiency and ruthlessness.
Balalaika grew up in Soviet Russia with the dream of becoming an Olympic marksman and bringing home the gold for the sake of her father. Her natural talents at sharpshooting made her a prime candidate, and she joined the military to show her loyalty. She served in the Soviet Airborne Troops and saw action in Afghanistan along with Boris, Sakharov, Menshov, and the rest of her unit. At some point during this tour of duty she received her trademark burn scars that extend from the right side of her face to the rest of her body. Despite her service, she never competed in the Olympics. When her unit returned to Russia, the Soviet Union collapsed and the country they fought for no longer existed as they knew it.
She spent many years in poverty stripped of her rank until her second in command was killed over dirty money. This spurred her to assemble the soldiers she served with in Afghanistan and resume military duty for their own personal interests. Balalaika's gang of Ex-Soviet paratroopers and soldiers now work for Hotel Moscow. They set their base of operations in Roanapur and occasionally answer to the network of Russian mafias all over the world. Due to Balalaika's leadership, military training, and closeness as brothers in arms, they frequently out maneuver and out muscle the regular gangs in the city. She easily earns the respect of freelancers like Dutch of Lagoon Company, and the hatred of mafia bosses like Verrocchio, Ronny, and Chen. Or in the case of Mr. Chang, an uneasy alliance.
Her first appearance was in Black Lagoon Volume 1 CH. 0 "Black Lagoon", and her first anime appearance was in Black Lagoon - Episode 1 "The Black Lagoon". Her character in the Japanese series is voiced by Mami Koyama, and the U.S. dub produced by Ocean Group is done by Patricia Drake.
Balalaika makes her first appearance in the first story arc of the series. She contracts Lagoon Company to steal a disc from Asahi Heavy Industries that ends up bringing Rokuro Okajima (Rock) into the seedy world of Roanapur. Before they can exchange anything, Balaliaka discovers Asahi hiring the Extra Order mercenary company to destroy the disc and warns Dutch just in time. Despite an EO helicopter gunship, she gets the disc in one piece and admires Rock's full dismissal of the boss that betrayed him.
Balalaika and her men make a brief appearance to eliminate a gangster named Chen who targets Lagoon Company for taking on too many jobs for Hotel Moscow. Chen brags about his plan all over town and makes himself an easy target. She blows him up after getting Dutch to hear from the other end of a phone call.
Dutch calls up Balalaika for a favor when he gets a bad feeling from transporting Garcia Lovelace for the Colombian Cartel. She investigates the Lovelace family to discover their seemingly normal household maid is actually a trained FARC assassin who went AWOL. Due to her good relations with Dutch for his consistent good work, she assembles a squad of her comrades and tries to prevent the situation from turning to a bloodbath. After surrounding Roberta and Revy while they fight each other, she manages to force them to drop their weapons.
Balalaika goes on the warpath when two of her subordinates are slaughtered by Hansel and Gretel. She vows to avenge Sakharov and Menshov and calls the full force of her paratrooper unit to head up a manhunt. Through tips from the corrupt Roanapur police chief and Rock's knowledge with languages, she discovers the twin's origins from Romania and child pornography. She plays to Hansel's blood lust and lures him into a park where her sniper teams take him out. Gretel flees with Lagoon Company. After she makes sure that Dutch is performing the job out of professional reasons rather than personal ones, she pays off a contact to shoot Gretel when she reaches shore.
The central authority of the Russian mafia calls Balalaika to establish a foothold in the Japanese underworld with the help of the Washimine Yakuza clan and the local Russian mob boss Laptev. Rock acts as her interpreter as she commands her men to methodically lay waste to the rival Kousa clan. Her operations prove too brutal with explosions and assassinations to the point where the Washimine try to turn on her and she personally kills Tsugio Bando in a parking garage. During the turn, she leaves Laptev to die because of his uselessness and history as KGB officer. Rock tries to talk her out of destroying them to spare Yukio Washimine. She nearly kills him before he convinces her that his concern for other people is his "hobby" and they're basically the same. With Rock's new suggestion in hopes of freeing Yukio from the violence, she ends up crushing both Washimine and Kousa clans and returns to Roanapur.
Balalaika's basic weapon of choice are a Stechkin APS machine pistol. The Stechkin APS is a Russian military handgun. It fires 9 mm caliber used in the Makarov pistol. It's capable of both single and burst fire from the safety lever. A wooden or metal stock is attachable to reduce recoil for burst fire. However, Balalaika has never shown to use the burst fire option.
Balalaika is talented sniper. Her proficiency with Dragunov sniper rifle during the Russian campaign in Afghanistan is partially what earned her the nickname Balalaika. This was Soviet Army's slang terms for the Dragunov.