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|“||My heart is bleeding.||„|
|~ Ray Bulgarin|
Ray Bulgarin is a minor antagonist in Grand Theft Auto IV and the main antagonist of The Ballad of Gay Tony.
Ray Bulgarin was born in Russia in 1958 and had a sister named Galina. When he was a boy, he participated in a wrestling academy, where his coach apparently made him take steroids. He then emigrated to Liberty City and started his criminal career. In 1989, when Ray was 31 years old, he was arrested for receiving an entire ship full of Albanian sex slaves. Sometime afterwards, he continued human trafficking across the Adriatic Sea, and lived in a huge waterfront mansion. He employed Niko Bellic as a human trafficker, who he would have smuggle people from Eastern Europe into Italy. Unfortunately, there was an incident in 2007 when a ship sank. Niko was then forced to abandon the ship as well as its cargo, and swim to safety. Outraged by this betrayal, Bulgarin blamed Niko for the loss, and sought to hunt him down by any means necessary. Niko then joined a merchant navy to escape Bulgarin's influence within Europe. For 7 months, he lived on a ship called the Platypus, until it docked in Liberty City, located in the United States.
Grand Theft Auto IV
In 2008, Bulgarin returned to Liberty City to expand his business interests, met up with his old friend Dimitri Rascalov. Dimitri offered Niko, who was working for him by chance, to Bulgarin without hesitation; Niko escaped the ambush and Bulgarin still insisted on tracking him down, with Dimitri's help.
When Dimitri Rascalov has Niko Bellic meet him in a warehouse where he betrays him, Bulgarin appears having an alliance with him. Having teamed up, they send their men to kill Niko, but fail. He insists to track him down afterwards. Later, he attempts to kill Niko and Packie McReary in a diamond trade, but fails again.
He Appears In Russian Revolution And Diamond's Are A Girl's Best Friend.
The Ballad of Gay Tony
Much more about Bulgarin is revealed in the Ballad of Gay Tony; he is interested in buying the Liberty City Rampage hockey team from Marki Ashvilli, as well as the Maisonette 9 nightclub from "Gay" Tony Prince. More about his personal lifestyle is also shown - he owns a red Oracle, a dark blue Landstalker (which he sacrifices to kill a crooked NOOSE team on his case) and a black Marbelle. In his spare time he enjoys playing rock music with his bodyguard Timur. He also has very impressive collections of arcade machines, sports and rock memorabilia (some of it used by famous rock stars, including a $50,000 guitar) and even fine art (he talks on the phone about wanting to pay $20 million for a painting). Bulgarin believes "everything has a price, you just have to find out what it is", going so far as to try to hire a Maisonette 9 waitress as a prostitute for the night. Bulgarin hired Luis Lopez to assist him with the hockey team acquisition. He first orders Luis Lopez to help Timur and himself take out a crooked NOOSE team by luring them into a parking garage, blowing up a blue Landstalker SUV, and killing all team members. Eventually, he and Ashvilli have an argument, and Luis must kill the team owner in a hectic ambush.
Eventually, Bulgarin discovers that Tony and Luis had obtained the diamonds that were stolen from him by a cook, which made him turn against Luis. He set a trap for Luis, having beheaded the cook and leaving his head in a birthday cake box on a rooftop for Luis to find, leading to an unexpected surprise ambush, but Luis survives and escapes. When the diamonds are being traded in a hostage situation, he finds Niko and Luis representing opposing parties and orders his men to fire. Bulgarin failed again, as both Niko and Luis as well as their business partners escaped empty-handed, and his diamonds were lost for good. In addition, all his men who were present at the deal location were killed.
After cooperating with Giovanni Ancelotti (a mob boss and the hostage's father) about the diamond situation, they agree to try to force Luis to kill Tony. Luis instead kills the Ancelotti associate and Bulgarin's hit squad. After learning that Tony and Luis survived, Bulgarin decides to leave the city. Before he can do so, Luis stows away in his private jet and kills his guards. Finding himself cornered, Bulgarin pulls out a grenade and threatens to blow up the plane if Luis shoots him. Luis ignores this and shoots Ray after he pulls the pin off the grenade. Luis manages to parachute out of the jet alive but Bulgarin is ultimately killed when the grenade explodes.
|“||I still like you. I make you rich. I make you man. Fag man no good.||„|
|~ Ray Bulgarin to Luis Lopez.|
|“||I AM NOT A F--KING FAGGOT!||„|
|~ Ray Bulgarin's negative opinion on Gay Tony.|
|“||You colluded with him to steal from me.||„|
|~ Ray Bulgarin betraying Luis Lopez.|
|“||Niko Bellic, how is it that whenever something is stolen from me, you are not far away?||„|
|~ Ray Bulgarin blaming Niko Bellic for the stolen diamonds.|
|“||A man in Europe, another Russian... Bulgarin. He live by the Adriatic. Believed I owed him money when I did not. He made my life impossible. There was no avoiding him. (Roman: Did you deal with him like you did Dardan and Bledar?) He had too many connections for that. I had to leave. He is one of the reasons I came here. (Roman: And to see your cousin, of course.) Of course.||„|
|~ Niko Bellic's description of Ray Bulgarin to cousin Roman during "Bleed Out".|
- Probably one of the most evil characters of the GTA series. Aside from his whole human smuggling past, his chronic disorder and his generally nasty, aggressive personality, his appearance in TBOGT makes him one of the most horrible villains in the series. While he may appear affably evil or even somewhat petty and harmless at first (in stark contrast to his brief appearances in the main game), he soon gets several moments: the brutal murder of the cook and his subsequent betrayal of Luis, and his cruel treatment of his sister, even shooting at and possibly killing her.
- Bulgarin, so far in the series is the only antagonist to be enemies with two protagonists. One is Niko Bellic and other one is Luis Lopez.
- Bulgarin's entry in the LCPD database will always list him as "deceased", even before the mission "Russian Revolution". This could imply that he possibly faked his death to escape the authorities.
- If the mission "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" is completed after "Pest Control", Niko Bellic will tell Patrick McReary that he plans to kill Ray Bulgarin during the car drive back to his house. However, Luis Lopez kills him instead in the TBOGT mission "Departure Time".
- Although Rocco Pelosi drove the plot of the storyline by blackmailing Luis and Tony into doing his dirty work for Giovanni Ancelotti and the Ancelotti Crime Family, Bulgarin is the true main antagonist in TBOGT because he had bigger plans than anyone else.