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Basil Hallward

Dimitri ended up as a stereotype villain

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Basil Hallward

Hi, this is my first post on GTA Forums. In this thread I’d like to address my opinions on:
-    How Dimitri Rascalov’s character is depicted in GTA4
-    How Dimitri ended up being a stereotype villain and how to make it better
 

1. There are 2 Dimitris
First of all, I’m not trying to say Dimitri was once a good guy. He was a bad guy from the start and deceptive at times. But before and after the mission “Russian Revolution”, where he betrays Niko, his character changes quite a bit like two different persons. Which are:
Dimitri-1 (pre-betrayal): calm, realistic, cunning, seemingly nice but also trying to gain personal trust through biased narrative, treat Niko like a friend but also sees Niko as a useful subordinate.
Dimitri-2 (post-betrayal): sadistic, betrays everyone without hesitation, willingly harass Niko by kidnapping Roman, killing heroin buyers and assaulting Roman’s wedding.

I know they wanted to make a good plot twist in the game, but it’s a bit unfair to perform a personality shift without explanation (e.g. drug abuse, “American greed”). Or maybe I was just too naive to fall for Dimitri and he has always been Dimitri-2. But even if that were the case, I have another opinion regarding the antagonist.

2. We don’t need Dimitri to be Dimitri-2 as an antagonist
One of the GTA4’s characteristic is, as its supporters and critics both agree, is its realism, or at least its realistic tone. In my opinion, they should have pursued that course regarding the main antagonist too, but they didn’t. Instead they ended up with Dimitri-2, a remorseless supervillain who clings on to Niko like a desperate ex-girlfriend starving for his attention. Moreover, while Bulgarin understandably wants Niko dead, why does Dimitri bother trolling small-time hitman even after establishing his own criminal empire?

My view on this is that Rockstar thought Dimitri-1 was “too weak” to be a main antagonist, so they added all the cheap villain clichés to make him more of “a bad guy” that every player wants to kill.

They didn’t have to do that. Dimitri-1 may be “weak”, but he also can be a good, memorable and a quite realistic antagonist.
In my theory, Dimitri-1, similar to Michael from GTA5, may get pretty selfish when cornered with a difficult situation or on perceiving a chance to move up the ladder. He does not betray his allies willingly or at least for fun, but he’s shrewd enough to consider it as an option, always. And when he does betray them, he justifies his action by claiming it was inevitable or was for survival, just like he did on turning against Mikhail. He betrays Niko at some point, perhaps after using him to advance his career (again providing Niko with biased narratives), but when cornered by his boss he starts blaming Niko for everything and eventually tries to silence him. Or something like that.

Anyway, despite his self-presentation, Dimitri-1 is evil. And provided with certain circumstances, he is evil enough to be a main antagonist. But not the cartoonish “I do bad stuff for fun” kind of evil we saw in Dimitri-2. Instead he’s evil in the way many of us sometimes are. His evilness lies in the extension of “I don’t really want to do this, but you know, that’s how things work” or “Hey, even if I didn’t, someone else does it anyway.” The banal evil within can make a mediocre man dangerously unethical. Dimitri may recognize his actions as treacherous too, but he will be quick to justify himself by saying “We must obey the rules of the game. We can pick the game but we cannot change the rules.”

I’ll be glad to hear replies from you guys, either positive or negative. Also I respect the work of Rockstar, despite several negative arguments I made. Lastly please pardon any grammatical error and a poor choice of words. I’m not from an English speaking country and I’m grateful to join the community.

Sincerely,
Basil

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iiCriminnaaL 49

This is actually a good theory, since this used to confuse me sometimes as well. But I don't really think that there's such a gap or some kind of inconsistency between "Dimitri 1" and "Dimitri 2".

 

He had at least three reasons to silence Niko:

  1. Niko was most likely the only one who knows that Dimitri was the one behind Mikhail's assassination.
  2. Since Dimitri easily convinced Niko to kill Faustin (and Niko had every right to go for it as well), it's very possible that he doesn't find him trustworthy anymore for that, and ensuring that what happened to Mikhail isn't going to happen to him in the future, he wanted to silence Niko too. He failed, which means that Niko is definitely going to look out for him.
  3. Taking Niko out means getting in even better terms with Bulgarin, who wanted him dead.

I'm surprised that nobody shared his opinions about the thread yet.

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billiejoearmstrong8

It's a good summing up of his character traits but I think they were all there all the time. He just masked his evilness (Dimitri 2) at the beginning and then tried to mask his more mild mannered side (Dimitri 1) later.

 

I think the "bad guy" stuff was already there at the beginning, the only reason he held back on it was because it was sensible to for his own self interests, I believe he was probably already very capable of being unnecessarily cruel as long as it didn't interfere with his number one priority of self preservation and gaining power.

 

And then later I still don't think he was just a stereotypical bad guy, most of the stuff was still measured and for a reason, taking Niko out was because it would be useful to him and he didn't really take any huge risks to do it in a maniacal evil obsessive way, he just attempted it when he had a realistic opportunity to. And the way he only taunted Niko by phone and stayed far away from him was cowardly in its delivery (playing the big man when out of reach but then pathetic when actually confronted at the end) but it was smart to stay away from him too, he wasn't the stereotypical bad guy who comes undone because he can't resist confronting his target. I think all these parts of his character were there all along, he's into self preservation above all but he's evil and sadistic too.

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Copcaller
Posted (edited)

Theres a theory kenny petrovic had his cousin killed after you murder kennys son so Dimitri kind of indirectly blames niko for it. 

 

But in my opinion Dimitri 2 was always there its just Dimitri 1 was more suitable while working under faustin but after his murder he allies with the Bulgarian family as far as hes concerned niko lost his usefulness a big mistake that most antagonists are guilty of but realistically speaking why wouldnt you choose the powerful mafia boss over a lone gunman and his fat cousin. 

 

 

Edited by Copcaller

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Lance Mayhem
Posted (edited)

After Faustin was killed, Dimitri needed to be 'loud' about being the one in command, lest another underling attempt to step in to fill the power vacuum. Also, the submissive, obedient 'Dimitri 1' was no longer a persona that would have had any credibility among the Russian mob. Once the 'wolf in sheep's clothing' has eaten the sheep, there is no reason to maintain the façade -- everyone knows he's a wolf. He had to go 'all in'. 

 

Further, he didn't want Bulgarin to parachute in as top dog. He needed Bulgarin to view him not as a subordinate, but as a colleague, or perhaps a facilitator -- one who could get Bulgarin what he wanted more as a favor to him, rather than a duty. 

 


My take on it, anyway.

Edited by Lance Mayhem

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The GTA Guy
Posted (edited)

This is a good theory - I can tell a lot of thought went into this. But I must agree with others on this, Dimitri 2 was always there. Dimitri was always very manipulative and deceiving person, he was probably always power hungry, and I'd imagine he'd been looking for an opportunity to take over Faustin's operation for years. Then Niko came to America, and after killing Vlad Dimitri saw the Niko's the right man for the job. So he manipulated Niko to kill Faustin. (Was that guy Niko killed even Petrovic's son? That could have been a blatant lie too) The obsessivity he had for Niko though, burning down Roman's cab depot and apartment and later kidnapping him(And in the kidnapping we learn from the bad guy's dialogue that it was actually a trap to kill niko once again), I agree with you, OP. Sure, for most part, he left Niko alone after forcing him out of Broker, but he definately still wanted him dead. Even though Niko wasn't even searcing for him anymore, he'd basically forgotten about the whole guy until the kidnapping because he was focused on finding Florian at the time.

 

In other words, Dimitri 2 was always there, he just masked it well.

 

Edited by The GTA Guy

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Mr_Rager

Dimitri was just a beta type of personality. Always latched on to someone stronger than himself. Even his epic betrayal gets overshadowed by his alliance with Bulgarin. That's why he spergs out on the phone, has to blindside an old Pegorino halfway up a staircase, begs for his life to Petrovic. Dimitri never had the makings of a varisty athlete.

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Shauny7488

Dimitri was always a sadistic b*stard. He was just being nice to Niko because he wanted something from him. Once Nikos usefulness ran out, dimitri turned.

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Max.pain
Posted (edited)

 

20 hours ago, Shauny7488 said:

Dimitri was always a sadistic b*stard. He was just being nice to Niko because he wanted something from him. Once Nikos usefulness ran out, dimitri turned.

this. he is one of the best antagonists ever if not the best. no other character made me hate himself/herself that much in the series

Edited by Max.pain

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Shauny7488
1 hour ago, Max.pain said:

 

this. he is one of the best antagonists ever if not the best. no other character made me hate himself/herself that much in the series

He certainly makes a good argument for the Revenge ending ill say that much lol

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Zello

I wonder what would have happened if Faustin didnt die would Dimitri still be second fiddle to him or would he still try to betray him. He could have possibly just told Faustin about Niko's past with Bulgarin and convinces Faustin to get rid of Niko.

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santosvagos
2 minutes ago, Zello said:

I wonder what would have happened if Faustin didnt die would Dimitri still be second fiddle to him or would he still try to betray him. He could have possibly just told Faustin about Niko's past with Bulgarin and convinces Faustin to get rid of Niko.

I don't think Faustin would do that , he was a lone-wolf himself  . He didn't even deal with Kenny and he started a war with him by killing his son and blew up his garage .

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henrardwal

Sociopaths are good at masking their intentions and personas, take it from someone who suffers from conduct disorder.

 

People like Dimitri like to focus on the big goal, the tip of the iceberg. He doesn't show his true self unless he'll actually benefit from it, simply because he doesn't want to bother showing it. He manipulated Niko and waited until the end to show his betrayal because it was the right time. Faustin was dead, Dimitri took over. He wanted to strengthen his ties with Bulgarin and since he had already got what he wanted from Niko, he no longer had any reasons to hold back from the one thing that would get him those streghtened ties.

 

I imagine Dimitri was simply trying to take his anger out on Niko, anger that would have derived from something else. He had no real personal reasons to hate Niko. He only wanted him dead to improve his relations with Bulgarin. I think his words after that second mission for Bernie even proves it. He offered Niko to convince Bryce Dawkins to give up so he could cut him in. We already know he's not someone who values long-term meaningful relationships that much so he might have tried to get Bulgarin killed even, who knows what he would've done with Niko had he accepted.

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