The Gangster TV Show Made By Gangsters

“It’s chaos. Every gorilla for hisself.” —Frank Lucas, American Gangster (2007)

In A Nutshell

Vitali Dyomochka is not just a Russian mobster. He’s also the writer, producer, director, and star of a Russian TV show called Spets. According to Dyomochka, Spets is an accurate portrayal of the gangster lifestyle. The series starred actual criminals who did their own stunts and was extremely popular with Russian audiences.

The Whole Bushel

From The Untouchables to Boardwalk Empire, TV has always been full of gangsters. Audiences love watching mobsters like Al Capone and Tony Soprano make deals and go to the mattresses, but they’re really just watching actors, none of whom have ever gunned down a rival or garroted a traitor. Except, that is, the cast of Spets.

Airing in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Spets was a Russian TV show depicting the day-to-day dealings of the Podstava gang. Only these crooks were played by real-life Russian mobsters, members of the actual Podstava, a gang that specializes in extortion. (They intentionally crash their cars into other vehicles and threaten the drivers into paying exorbitant amounts for the damages.) When filming finished, 10 of the “actors” were actually arrested for criminal acts, and another was killed by an enemy gang.

The Orson Welles behind the series was Vitali Dyomochka. Not only was Dyomochka the show’s writer, producer, director and star (playing the eponymous Spets), he’s also the actual don of Podstava and has served time behind bars for a handful of crimes including shooting a rival mobster. Irritated by popular gangster shows, Dyomochka decided to make a series that portrayed mobster accurately and funded the project with his own cash. His men memorized lines, performed their own stunts such as fist fights and car crashes, acted out various crimes a la blackmail and murder and engaged in unsimulated sex acts. (It’s a realistic show.) They even destroyed a casino and nightclub.

Needless to say, the police weren’t exactly pleased with Spets. When asked to act in the show, the cops refused and instead regularly questioned Dyomochka during the shooting. But Russian audiences were thrilled with the crazy mafiya drama, and the show had a 100 percent rating. It just goes to prove that people love shows about bad guys, especially when they’re real.

Show Me The Proof

Ready. Spets. Go!
The Telegraph: Mobster turns from gunning down rivals to shooting TV series
Gangster Life Imitates Art: Russian Mafia Boss ‘Stars’ In Real-Life TV Crime Show

  • Hadeskabir

    Is that a photo of bullets? Looks like pens. 3 words for this article: Only In Russia.

  • Stan Manley

    nice copy and paste job. maybe next time use some sources other than wikipedia.

  • Kaydot Mcdiamonds

    What kind of dumbass would film the real lives of gangsters using gangsters?!? Really now Russia!?

    • WhiteExodus

      What do you expect? Their Russian!

    • Nomsheep

      I would assume a gangster who likes making money.

  • Seth

    @kaydotmcdiamonds:disqus Kaydot Mcdiamonds You should learn to think before you decide to open your mouth and officially proclaim yourself a moron.
    What kind of idiot would make a show about real gangsters?
    Did you read that the show had a 100% rating?
    To answer your question, the kind of idiot that would produce that show is the kind of idiot that knows what audiences want to see, shows them exactly that, and makes money doing it.

    I wasn’t aware that being successful made someone an idiot.
    But okay

    • powder99

      Some people may enjoy seeing Romney stripped naked and hung upside down and then whipped. However, it does not mean one should make the show. 100% rating – so everyone is Russia watched the show? I agree with Kaydot – it is a dumb idea.

      • Seth

        lol..Okay…They didn’t “make” the show a 100% rating. That sentence doesn’t even make any sense. The show RECEIVED a 100% rating because the vast majority of Russian viewers loved the show.
        So its a dumb idea to make a successful show that the greater majority of your audience highly approved of? I feel my brain cells dying one by one just from reading these messages so good day to ya.

  • Passingthru

    Not really sure I would support real gangsters making a show. I’d prefer to know they are behind bars and actors can profit from the story instead.

  • Arjan Hut

    Sometimes Russians are just too cool.

  • Nomsheep

    This would be pretty cool to watch.

  • Jordan

    Sounds like a pretty crazy show!