- "Sergei might not know how valuable you are, but I do."
- — Josef Yurinov
Josef Yurinov is the Lieutenant of the Russian Mafia under mafia boss Sergei Voronov during Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction and, according to Sergei, a former member of the KGB. He was sent to aid Sergei during the North Korean conflict, but is secretly monitoring Sergei's activities for his superiors. From the onset, he clearly appears to be more than another simple lieutenant.
- "You do realise we're walking into a trap?"
- "There is an old Russian proverb, 'the bear who sees the trap, cannot be caught.'"
- —The mercenary and Josef
Josef is almost the exact opposite of Sergei in terms of personality. He is an astute professional, often adding amendments to Sergei's overly bold and high-profile missions. He always speaks in a cool, calm manner and handles most of the email communication between the Mafia and the mercenary. He can be seen as the metaphorical "power behind the throne," keeping the enforcers (and Sergei) in check. Josef must also constantly remind Sergei of things he has said or has forgotten which almost everything is.
He usually handles the actual business end of the mafia, including trade deals with other people like the Deck of 52 members. Because of this, they are aware of their whereabouts, and Josef will gladly send an e-mail to Fiona detailing their locations in exchange for the player completing Mafia contracts. Josef has spoken with the Seven of Clubs, Jack of Clubs, and possibly the Four of Clubs. He also presumably has had dealings with the Six of Clubs (Division 39's link with the Mafia) and the Four of Spades, as he sent an e-mail detailing her location to Fiona.
During the last quarter of the game, Sergei double-crosses Josef and the mercenary, sending them to a arms deal that turns out to be a North Korean ambush. In response to his betrayal, Josef usurps control of the operation and spends the rest of the game tying up loose ends and eliminating any trace of Sergei with the mercenary's help. He appoints a thug named Misha as his new lieutenant.
- When Josef is seen fighting, his weapon of choice is the Shotgun, which can help as the player escapes with him from the North Korean ambush.
- Agent Buford seems fully aware of Josef's true purpose in the North Korean branch, as he mentions during one mission.
- If the player chooses Mattias, it is revealed that Mattias and Josef did work together in Kosovo. This is most likely how Mattias became fluent in the Russian language.
- During the ambush set up by Sergei, if the player returns him safely (completing the mission) Josef will reward the player with a payment of $1,000,000.
- During Mercenaries 2 while at the PMC, Fiona will mention Josef, wondering if he is still alive and wishing he could be recruited to smooth out the PMC's operations.