Regarding "tolerance" in Central Asia, they just don't give a shit about anything. I personally saw people playing cards for money at the frontyard of the Ministry of Education in one of the republics, with "ministers" not payig attention.
Has nothing to do with Odessa. Most of these criminals are not from Odessa, either. Just because brighton is called little Odessa, doen't mean that everyone who lives there is from Odessa, or that everyone who is a criminal lives on brighton beach. Nathan wasn't from Odessa. Growing up in Odessa has nothing to do with being a criminal or not. Check crime statistics of the soviet Odessa and Moscow, or any other major city.