Maria Ivanova was born Manushak Arshakuni in Sisian, Armenia. Like most girls her age, born in the claws of communism she dreamt of a better life, a life where she could be a princess. She was jealous of the western girls she saw on bootlegged American shows, she wanted to marry a rich man for America and shop in the beautiful stores of California. Manushak wanted to live the American dream.
When the wall came down in 1991, Manushak aged 17 knew that she had to try her luck. Lacking papers and money she made a deal with a small time crook from Gyumri named Sayat Mkrtchyan. Using their resources they made a run for it and landed in the Armenian capital, Yerevan.
Unbeknownst to her, Sayat Mkrtchyan owned a lot of money to his boss, Garen Sarkissian, and was hunted down relentlessly. Manushak now going by the name Maria Ivanova, knew that Sayat Mkrtchyan was too small for her dreams. Once the crime syndicate caught up to them she coldly sold him out in exchange for a Kryshas position in the organization, money and power.
As the Bratva in Russia solidified their presence, Sarkissian’s organization was absorbed in the Solntsevskaya Bratva, the group went from being a small time national organization to a major transnational crime organization.
Being a woman Maria was often put in charge of the sex trafficking sections of the organization, her bosses liked her ruthlessness and ability to make impossible things happen by her sheer will. She was not to be stopped from living her dream, even if it meant losing a bit of humanity along the way.
Her latest task has been to monitor the activity of the Vienna group after the Bratva noticed lots of irregularities in their payments and revenues. When she arrived on site she quickly understood that Ulric Frietz was bat shit crazy in love with a girl named Sarah Lennart. In her opinion Ulric was letting his emotions cloud his already impaired judgement. Once she understood the dynamics, she stood back slowly taking control of the operational level of the Vienna group. She saw that if she played he cards right she could take control of the whole Vienna operation becoming the first woman ever to become a Avtorityet (Brigadier).
When the Agents made their presence known in Vienna at the Millennium Building, she saw through their play really quickly. She believes the Agents are paid mercenary tasked with the retrieval of Sarah Lennart, probably from some family member in Canada. She saw her opportunity to come out on top and take over the operations.As the events unfolded, she made sure to create a situation where Ulric would be exposed. So she kindly suggested that he take a breather in Malta while she dealt with the mysterious Sheik. She assigned her most loyal bodyguards to the Malta mansion and let the events unfold.