Consecutive patient cultures (140) of Mycobacteriium tuberculosis were collected from five Russian civilian and prison tuberculosis laboratories and analyzed for rifampin (rpoB) and isoniazid resistance (inhA, katG, ahpC); transmission of Beijing family isolates; and the importance of prison and previous therapy in drug resistance. Rifampin, isoniazid, and multidrug resistance occurred in 58.2%, 51.6%, and 44.7% of cultures, respectively; 80% of prison cultures were rifampin resistant. Spoligotyping and variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) fingerprinting divided the isolates into 43 groups. Spoligotyping demonstrated that a high proportion (68.1%) of patients were infected with Beijing family strains and that most (69.1%) were rifampin resistant; the highest proportion (81.6%) occurred in prison. One VNTR subgroup (42435) comprised 68 (72.3%) of the Beijing isolates with a small number of IS6110 types; 50 (73.5%) were rifampin resistant. Rifampin-resistant Beijing isolates are dominant within the patient population, especially among prisoners, and threaten treatment programs.