Russia is a country bordering the east of Europe.
Scion stopped the Cold War.
With the end of the war, there was widespread destitution (one out of every five people had been employed as part of the military/war.). There was a bigger backlash against parahumans than elsewhere, as a result of Scion's actions and perceptions of parahuman vs. communism. Where the C.U.I. achieved total control over their parahumans, Russia set something of a parahuman vs. human structure in place. Parahumans that might have been mundane elsewhere were driven to extremes by the hatred and persecution.
When the witch hunting was active, Red Gauntlet formed as a band of friends and family with powers, attempting to survive. They gained power, gained strength, and gained leverage. Initially serving the Russian government as the precursor to what would be the Elitnaya, Red Gauntlet was bought out by the Eritreans in the second Eritrean War for Liberation, and thereafter settled into a role as mercenaries. Red Gauntlet's ability to accept or refuse jobs currently cements it as a deciding factor or power in the political discourse. The daughter of one of the founding members, Rukavitsa, presently leads. She was arguably the catalyst for the group's formation, she's romanticized and beloved in Russian culture, and her group is hated by local government.
The economic reforms that crippled Russia in Aleph's 90s were made to work by a parahuman in government in Bet, and this did a lot to pacify authorities and shift the 'us vs. them' mentality. In the end, the military adopted parahumans to better fight other parahumans, then absorbed them into the greater structure.
Overall, Russia has suffered more at the hands of Endbringers and S-Class threats than most, and it was the lack of faith in the government's ability to protect the people (and the aftermath of losing Moscow) that led to the fall of the U.S.S.R. and rise of other forces.
Russian leaders tacitly encourage infighting among their elite troops, the Elitnaya Armiya, to prevent them taking over. Parahumans who aren't members of the military or Red Gauntlet are usually forced to join the Dno (underworld.)
Before coming to rest in Mordovia Sleeper was mobile and wandered around in Russia.