Vladimir Lem first appears in The First Max Payne, leader of the Russian Mob who's engaged in a violent war with the Mafia. He originally befriends Max but gets power hungry and ultimately becomes the villain.
In the original game, Vladimir Lem is first seen driving away from Jack Lupino's bombed out apartment building, signalling the opening of a brutal and bloody mob war with the Punchinello mob family. Vlad, however, was not the instigator of this war as according to a letter written by Vinnie Gognitti, the mob had made a hit on his weapons shipments which was believed to have left the Russians too weak to fight back. 
In the original Max Payne, it's not until much later in the game that Vladimir returns to help Max out. After hearing about him rubbing out so many mobsters, Vlad arrives back at the hotel to give Max a lift, to propose a truce and to make him an offer he couldn't refuse. Sending Max to kill one of his former lieutenants who have crossed over to Punchinello's side. Max complies and following with Vlad's apparent code of ethics, he allows Max to use some of his heavy weaponry and promises to help whenever he wants.
In Max Payne 2, the war has heated up some, but thanks to Max's help, the Russians were able to hit back at the Mafia harder than ever, leaving Vlad a very successful man, wearing expensive suits and running the old Ragna Rock nightclub, renamed "Vodka". But Vlad soon becomes greedy and decides to wipe out the entire mob completely, which contradicts Max's ethics, and Vlad decides to rid himself of Max by placing a hit on him.
See That Familiar Old Feeling for more information.
- Vladimir Lem is voice-acted by Jonathan Davis.
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