Indiana Jones: Well, the way you're sinking your teeth into those wubble-u's, I should think maybe... Eastern Ukraine.Very few characters from Russia or the former Soviet Union in Western television are played by native Russians. This was a particular case in the Cold War, for obvious reasons. As with Fake American, Fake Brit and all types of Fake Nationality, the quality of the imitation of the Russian accents varies from the very good to the awful to the not-even-attempted. For convenience's sake, this trope covers the whole of the former Soviet Union on its post World War Two boundaries. Fake Russian text is The Backwards R.
Mike Nelson: Hm, I was thinking Fake-istan.
Mike Nelson: Hm, I was thinking Fake-istan.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- From Axis Powers Hetalia we have Russia, whose American actor has a distinct generic Russian accent, not that the fangirls seem to mind.
- Although, considering that the show is based on national stereotypes, this actually makes sense.
- Half-Russian Freesia Yagyuu spoke heavily Japanese accented Russian at times in Jubei Chan 2. Her mother being a member of a Siberian tribe from 300 years ago, she nevertheless makes many modern Russian stereotypical references. Subversively, this is because she's far smarter than she lets on, and her goofy "Rapanese" persona is fake.
- Sergei Smirnov, and Sergei's estranged son Andrei from Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Also from the same series is Kazakh Allelujah Haptism.
- Simon the sushi tout in Durarara!!. His voice actor doesn't even bother himself with imitating Russian accent — he just uses generic foreign one, which (as it is Japan, after all) just happens to be English. And besides, he's actually a Russian of African descent.
- His dub voice actor, however, does adopt a Russian accent for the role—except when reading inner monologue.
- American, technically. His parents were African Americans who settled in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
- When Simon and Izaya tried to converse in Russian in the anime, though, both their actors mangled the language so much that it didn't even register as Russian to the native ear.
- The anime adaptation of Ginban Kaleidoscope had a terrific example of this in one of the episodes, where a Russian girl got lost in Japan. Not only is the accent so heavy, a native speaker would barely make out what the characters were saying, but the very way mother and daughter address each other is all wrong. You wouldn't believe it one bit if a mother called her daughter, well, actually "daughter", not by name; and especially the most formal form of the word, in Russian, which allows for tons of milder and friendlier word variations.
- In the two English dubs of the 39th/35th episode of Sailor Moon, the two Russian figure skaters, Misha and Janelyn/Janelle, were voiced by local actors.
- Yuri!!! on Ice has a few Russian characters that have the appropriate accents in the dub — Yurio (Micah Solusod), Victor (Jerry Jewell, using a much less exaggerated accent than he did in Hetalia), and Yakov (Daman Mills).
Films — Animated
- An American Tail: At least the parents try to put on Russian accents, Fievel and Tanya sound like regular Americans even before they emigrate to America.
- Mr. Bobinsky in Coraline, complete with a funnily overwrought accent and surprisingly decent Gratuitous Russian.
- Dr. Jumba Jookiba in Lilo & Stitch, a Kweltekwanian alien, is speaking vaguely Russian accent if only because he is a Idiot Sci-, erm, Evil Genius.
- None of the voice actors in Anastasia is Russian, and their accents (as well as the attempts to speak the language) are wildly off the mark.
- North (Alec Baldwin) from Rise of the Guardians
- Gru (Steve Carell) and his mother (Julie Andrews) from Despicable Me
- The Trunkovs and Ivan's voice actors from Cars 2. At least the Trunkovs' character design was based on a real Soviet-era model, the ZAZ-968 Zaporozhets◊. Plot necessity forced Ivan to be based on a 1955-57 Chevy truck◊ like Mater - had they planned the sequel at the same time as the original movie they could've made Mater a 1956 Ford◊ so Ivan could be a ZIL-130◊.
Films — Live-Action
- James Bond movies:
- Robbie Coltrane (Scottish) portrayed Russian Valentin Zukovsky in GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough. GoldenEye features at least five more of these characters. Natalya Simonova's actress, Izabella Scorupco, while she grew up and lives in Sweden, is at least Slavic (Polish), but still not Russian.
- John Rhys Davies takes a break from Egyptian and Scottish characters to play Russian General Leonid Pushkin in The Living Daylights. He's actually Welsh. And not in fact a Dwarf.
- American actress Barbara Bach in The Spy Who Loved Me.
- German born actor Walter Gotell plays General Gogol in a number of the films. He plays Morzeny (also Russian) in From Russia with Love. From Russia With Love also features Tatiana Romanova played by the Italian Daniela Bianchi and Rosa Klebb, played by the Austrian Lotte Lenya.
- Octopussy features General Orlov (played by British actor Steven Berkoff), who serves his Fake Russian with a side of Shatner speak and an order of Large Ham.
- Quantum of Solace inverts this with Ukrainian actress and fluent native-Russian-speaker Olga Kurylenko playing a Bolivian, reboots change everything...
- White Nights cast Soviet defector and ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov as a Soviet defector and ballet dancer who accidentally winds up back in the Soviet Union.
- Jerzy Skolimowski, a Pole, was cast as the chief KGB officer assigned to keep track of him.
- Isabella Rossellini (Swedish-Italian) is featured as a Russian.
- Helen Mirren (born Ilyena Vasilievna Mironov), who is actually half-Russian, half-British.
- In ''Dr. Strangelove', the Russian ambassador is played by British actor, Peter Bull. Though to be fair he's not really fooling any-one.
- Gideon Emery, also a British actor, plays the Russian mobster Sergei in Takers.
- Ed O'Ross, who hails from Pittsburgh, PA, has played Russians several times in both TV and film.
- In Hollywood, Russian characters have been played by Swedish actors on a number of occasions. This has apparently led some to perceive Swedish accents as Russian ones even when they are not intended as such. Examples include:
- The actor who plays Ivan Drago in Rocky IV is Dolph Lundgren, a Swede.
- Peter Stormare, another Swede, was one of the only good things about Armageddon with his psychotic cosmonaut character. He also got to be a Russian in Bad Boys II and Playing God. He was also a Soviet Mad Scientist in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3. Apparently he plays a convincing enough Russian to do it over and over.
- Lena Olin, Alias- plus Isabella Rossellini.
- Greta Garbo in Ninotchka (where the other three important Russian characters are played by German actors) and Anna Karenina.
- In another Nordic/Russian connection, the Russian terrorist villain of the Jackie Chan film The Spy Next Door is played by Magnus Scheving, an Icelander.
- The film K19: The Widowmaker, set aboard a Russian submarine, is 138 minutes of non-stop fake Russian. From Liam Neeson, Peter Sarsgaard and Harrison Ford, of all people (Ford has stated in an interview that many were afraid to "invest in me with a Russian accent"). Neeson wisely gives up and reverts to his Irish brogue about halfway through the movie.
- Amazingly, the Russian dub happily rectifies all of the awkwardness. The translation and dubbing were apparently given much thought and labor, and the end result is suprisingly convincing, bold and heartfelt performances in Russian (even though some expressions still betray a little of the foreigner's perspective). Russian dub version of the movie shows very sure and organic performances of noble and humane Russian sailors in a (sorely lacking) Russian heroic-but-tragic war movie, with acting by Ford, Neeson, Sarsgaard and others as a cool bonus.
- Eastern Promises. Viggo Mortensen spent some time unaccompanied in the rural region of Russia his character is meant to originate from to not only absorb the dialect, but the regional culture as well. His costars did not however go to such lengths.
- Sean Connery plays the half-Lithuanian, half-Russian submarine commander (with a Scottish accent) Marko Ramius in The Hunt for Red October. There are a number of other examples in that film alone, including the two other main Russian characters played by Sam Neill and Tim Curry, Peter "Harry Pearce" Firth, and Stellan Skarsgård, a Swedish actor, who has a small role as a Soviet submarine captain sent to hunt down the defecting eponymous vessel.
- Brilliantly averted, however, by Alec Baldwin in the same film, as Jack Ryan, who nailed the pronunciation of his Russian lines perfectly.
- The Russia House features American Michelle Pfeiffer and Austrian Klaus Maria Brandauer, both as Russians.
- Firefox. (No, not the browser, a movie with Clint Eastwood.) "You have to think think think in (fake) Russian (fake) Russian (fake) Russian...."
- Justified, as Eastwood's character is supposed to be half-Russian, and was born and raised in the United States. His accent being a bit off is understandable. How he manages to fool Russian soldiers with his horrible accent is a different matter.
- Nicole Kidman (Australian), Mathieu Kassovitz and Vincent Cassel (Two Frenchmen) play Russians in the movie Birthday Girl.
- Enemy at the Gates, set during the siege of Stalingrad, featured Jude Law, Rachel Weisz and Joseph Fiennes as members of the Soviet army... plus Bob Hoskins as (rather unconvincing — he failed to Chew The Scenery enough) Nikita Khrushchev. All of them are Brits. None of them used fake-Russian accents in that movie, however. Some of the American actors affected British accents as well. Led to some oddity when the Germans were primarily American actors, using American accents.
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull features Cate Blanchett (Australian) as an Eastern Ukrainian Soviet, and she reportedly did pretty well - while gleefully Chewing the Scenery.
- Cate Blanchett also played a glamorous Russian dancer in the earlier (and much lesser known) film, The Man Who Cried.
- In addition to the usual "British and Americans as Russians", Doctor Zhivago also stars Egyptian-born Omar Sharif as the title character.
- In the action/parody Cats & Dogs there's a villainous cat-burgler (that's a cat who is a burglar) armed with numerous spy-gadgets known only as 'The Russian', who naturally speaks in the stereotypical Russian accent used by Cold War villains.
- None other than our favorite Austrian, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the movie Red Heat. Ed O'Ross (from Pittsburgh) tells Arnold's character to "Go to arse" (could be translated as "Go to Hell") in a perfect Russian with Georgian accent. Which was the only correctly pronounced Russian phrase in the whole movie.
- Robin Williams in Moscow on the Hudson. Williams was particularly dedicated to being fluent in Russian for the role. Years later, he could still carry on a conversation in the language.
- The President's Analyst - Severn Darden plays a sympathetic KGB agent with an accent like a toned-down Mischa Auer (comic actor known for "Mad Russian" roles) - when we first see him he is speaking in Russian with a superior.
- The Dark Knight has Beatrice Rosen (French-American) as the Russian prima ballerina who lectures Harvey Dent, and Richie Coster (English) as the Chechen gangster (not Russian in the strict sense, but he portrays his character as a stereotypical Russian mafioso).
- The Hunt has Nadja played by Alexandra Rapaport, a Swedish actress. Her parents are Polish and Spanish.
- Little Odessa: in this story set in a Russian-Jewish community of Brighton Beach, everybody except for some minor characters is played by Americans or Brits. Due to the fact that these are Russian-Americans, the lack of Russian accent and presence of American accent in the Russian dialogue would be intentional for some characters.
- Lord of War: Nicolas Cage as Ukranian-pretending-to-be-Jewish arms dealer Yuri Orlov. Funny how Orlov is not a very Ukranian surname.note Cage, as well as his brother played by Jared Leto, even manage several lines in Ukranian on-screen - surprisingly recognizable, at least compared to many other instances. Averted with several secondary characters, like Yuri's uncle, who are played by actual Ukranians and get their lines straight. Yuri's military uncle is played by Yevgeniy Lazarev, famed Belarusian actor—close, though not Ukrainian—who's got plethora of American and Russian film roles.
- Curiously enough, the Tartars (derived from real life Tatars) in The Golden Compass speak perfect Russian! That can be considered a part of the Fake Russian phenomenon, because, well, real Tatar language is quite different from Russian. While it's arguably true for the book/movie (where one guesses the Muscovites had not united Rus', though it's not stated outright), it's worth noting that most real life Tatars do speak fluent Russian, Tatarstan being part of the Russian Federation, after all.
- Zlatko Burić (Croatian) as Yuri Karpov (the oligarch), Johann Urb (Estonian) as Sasha (the pilot), and Beatrice Rosen (again!!!) as Tamara (the oligarch's mistress) in 2012. Also, Zinaid Memisevic (Bosnian) as Sergey Karpenko (Russian president). His interpreter, played by Igor Morozov, is the only "true" Russian in the movie.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- Mickey Rourke plays Russian supervillain Ivan Vanko (a cross between Crimson Dynamo and Whiplash) in Iron Man 2. Rourke spent time in a Russian supermax prison just to absorb some local flavor and was coached on the language by his Russian girlfriend. In the same film, Scarlett Johansson plays Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, who was Russian in the comics, but is not said to be Russian in the film, and nothing in her performance even hints at it.
- In The Avengers (2012), we see Black Widow (Johansson's character) conversing in Russian while under interrogation (by a Russian officer played by Jerzy Skolimowski, who is speaking Russian, but Not Even Bothering with the Accent). Later in the film, she tells Loki in a Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: "I'm Russian...or was" (which is true to the mainstream Marvel continuity, wherein Natasha naturalized herself American).
- In the Fury's Big Week comic (prequel to the Avengers film), the mutated dr. Sterns (a.k.a. the comics' Leader) drops a hint at Natasha being originally from Stalingrad, after picking up on her accent.
- In-universe in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The titular Winter Soldier is made to look like a Russian assassin by using Russian-made weapons, speaking in Russian, and having a red star painted on his prosthetic arm, but in reality he's an American from New York being controlled by American agents.
- And that isn't even the end of it. Those American agents happen to be working for an agency that got its start in Nazi Germany, and the Winter Soldier - as a consequence of being portrayed by a Romanian actor - speaks Russian with a Romanian accent. Is this the Logical Extreme of this trope? Probably.
- In Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three, the Russian characters are played by Austrian and German actors.
- Salt has two Polish actors playing the Soviet defector and the Russian president, and the American Corey Stoll playing one of the undercover agents (though like the rest of the agents in the movie, he's lived his whole adult life in America).
- British Daniel Craig played Belarussian Tuvia Bielski in Defiance. His accent when speaking Russian was less than convincing. Interesting fact: most Jews in a movie speak awful fake Russian while Russians speak perfect Russian. In Real Life Jews in Russia (and Belarus and most of Ukraine) can't be recognized by accent except of some special places.
- Variously averted, subverted, and played straight in 2010: The Year We Make Contact. By the numbers:
- Dana Elcar is not Russian in any way, and his accent as Dimitri Moisevich is subpar to say the least. His radio transmissions in Russian had to be dubbed in.
- Helen Mirren as Tanya Kibruk is an interesting case. She is (of course) English and speaks no Russian, but she is ethnically Russian on her father's side and can do a flawless Russian accent.
- The remaining Soviets are all either Czech or actually Soviet, even if some of them (e.g. Elya Baskin) aren't actually Russian per se (Baskin, for instance, is a Latvian from Riga—which at the time was part of the USSR).
- Shannon Elizabeth played Nadia, a Czech (not Russian, but similarly Slavic) in American Pie.
- Averted somewhat in the 2009 Star Trek: Anton Yelchin (Ensign Chekov) was born in Russia and immigrated to the United States as a baby. He would've done an accurate accent and is a native English speaker in Real Life, but he felt it more appropriate to exaggerate it to match Walter Koenig's original performance of the character.
- Ralph Fiennes, Liv Tyler and everyone else in the 1999 film version of Onegin plays Russians, but it's a Not Even Bothering with the Accent bonanza (with the exception of Tyler... who puts on an English accent so she won't stick out amongst the rest of the cast).
- In-Universe case: in the opening sequence to The Dark Knight Rises, Barsad, a sniper, poses as a Russian soldier when delivering Dr. Pavel and the three hooded "prisoners" to the CIA agent. He fools the CIA agent by saying the "prisoners" work for Bane, the "masked man", so that the agent and the army soldiers on the plane are unaware until it is too late that Bane is in fact one of the prisoners and will crash the plane....with no survivors.
- Note that Barsad appears to speak with some kind of light lisp when talking to the CIA agent to disguise his voice. In all of his scenes in Gotham with dialogue, he's a Fake Brit because he speaks with a British accent even though his actor Josh Stewart is American.
- In Rounders, John Malkovich plays Russian gangster Teddy KGB. His accent is bizarre.
- In the 1956 American film adaptation of War and Peace, the Russian characters are played by actors of various nationalities: the British-Dutch Audrey Hepburn, the Americans Henry Fonda and Mel Ferrer, the Italian Vittorio Gassman, the Austrian Oskar Homolka and the Swedish Anita Ekberg.
- Pacific Rim is stuffed to the gills with Fake Nationality, but Sasha and Alexis Kaidanovsky, the Russian Battle Couple piloting the superheavyweight Cherno Alpha, are portrayed by Canadians Heather Doerksen and Robert Maillet respectively.
- In The Bourne Supremacy, Russian FSB agent Kirill is portrayed by New Zealand actor Karl Urban. Urban delivers all of his lines in Russian, in an accent that one Russian speaking reviewer described as 'slightly mangled'.
- X-Men Film Series:
- In the original timeline, Colossus (Russian) is portrayed by Canadian Daniel Cudmore.
- X-Men: First Class features Englishman Jason Flemyng as the Russian Azazel.
- Deadpool depicts Colossus as a Husky Russkie instead of the non-specific nationality in the other movies... while played by a Serbian, Stefan Kapicic.
- The New Mutants has American-born Anglo-Argentine Anya Taylor-Joy as Magik.
- Brian Cox as a former Russian spy named Ivan Simanov in Red.
- Steven Seagal as the title character in Driven to Kill. Most Russians find his attempts at Russian mat (obscene patois) incredibly hilarious.
- In Mortdecai, Romanov, the leader of the Russian criminals, is played by Danish actor Ulrich Thomsen. One of his henchmen is played by an actor born in Ukraine.
- The film version of The Man From Uncle, much like its tv predecessor, has a Fake Russian, in this case American Armie Hammer (although he does have some Russian heritage).
- St. Vincent has British Naomi Watts as a Russian prostitute.
- Parodied in Dave Barry's column "The Columnist's Caper," a spy-movie pastiche in which two Russian officers named Rasputin Smirnov and Joyce Brothers Karamazov Popov take turns frowning at each other while talking about how the Americans must be kept from interfering with their Evil Plan. When Smirnov asks, "Shouldn't we be speaking Russian?", Popov says that they should at least have accents. The rest of their lines have them doing every accent but a Russian one.
- In-universe in Stephen King's Joyland, Rozzie Gold - a.k.a. Madame Fortuna, the amusement park's resident fortune teller - adopts a fake Eastern European accent during the summer season because it draws in more tourists. (She's actually from New York.)
- The classic example is Ensign Chekov from Star Trek: The Original Series, portrayed by an American, albeit one of Lithuanian descent. His surname, btw, means 'receipt-son'. Apparently a misspelling of Chekhov (Chekov), which means 'of Czech descent'.
- Anton Yelchin's version is a borderline case; Yelchin is Russian, but came to America as a young enough child that he doesn't normally have a Russian accent at all when speaking English. He's also doing it in homage to Chekov.
- If "Walter Koenig" sounds more German than Lithuanian to you—Koenig's family were Ashkenazi Jews (like half the actors on the bridge of the Enterprise), so he had a Germanic name.
- Walter could actually do a realistic Russian accent. He actually did during an audition, but Roddenberry told him the accent "wasn't strong enough" and instructed him to "ham it up". For the V pronounced as W thing he was inspired by his grandfather, who he says had the same difficulty (albeit not to the extent that Chekov does).
- In 24:
- Julian Sands, a British actor, played Big Bad Vladimir Bierko. Mark Sheppard, also British, played Bierko's Dragon, and notably switched between British and Russian accents during his tenure on the show. However, since the nationality of those bad guys was Generic Central Asian it's rather pointless to discuss whether the names and accents were accurate to any particular real Central-Asian / Eastern-European country. Misha Collins, meanwhile, does a pretty good Russian accent as Alexis Drazen.
- In Season 8, Russian Big Bad Mikhail Novakovich is portrayed by Glasgow-born actor Graham McTavish. Likewise, Sergei Behzaev in the same season was acted by Berliner Jürgen Prochnow.
- Australian actor Nick Jameson played Russian President Yuri Suvarov in the fifth, sixth, and eigth seasons. Likewise, John Noble, also of Australian descent, played Anatoly Markov during season 6.
- A classic example was Illya Kuryakin on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.., played by the Scottish David McCallum (who would go on to play Ducky in NCIS).
- Averted in Babylon 5 where Claudia Christian uses her own (American) accent for the Russian character Susan Ivanova. The new president at the end of the fourth season was accused of it, but the actress was Polish and also using her own accent. Ivanova was particularly notable for the subtle (and realistic) hints of Russian syntax inserted in her lines - most notably, the line "This, to me, is not a good combination" - which say that, despite her accent, she is a native Russian speaker. (Although some of these might have simply been jokes, as many Russianesque word orderings are similar to those of Yiddish, and Ivanova is explicitly, if not observantly, Russian Jewish.)
- Dr. Svetlana Markov [sic]; (corrected to Markova in the Russian dub) in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Watergate", portrayed by Marina Sirtis. On the other hand, the two Russian sailors from "Small Victories" look rather authentic, being portrayed by Russians. The one with glasses speaks Ukrainian, almost without an accent. The other one alternates between Russian and Ukrainian. One of them asks what is that noise they hear from the torpedo tube and the other answers "maybe those are the bugs from the previous episode?".
- Aversion: Radek Zelenka in Stargate Atlantis was originally supposed to be Russian, but the producers changed the character's nationality to fit the actor's Czech origins. It should be pointed out that while actor David Nykl can speak Czech fluently, having been born in the country to Czech parents, he left at a very young age with his family (after the Prague Spring of 1968) and his actual accent is Canadian. That and it appears he's actually been a fake Russian in the past. Nevertheless, Nykl's Czech accent is pretty much spot-on.
- Gary Chalk, Canadian actor of English birth, plays Russian General Chekhov on SG-1.
- In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Our Man Bashir", Nana Visitor (who plays Kira Nerys) is clearly putting on the most ridiculous faux-Russian accent and having loads of fun while at it.
- Explained by the fact that the holodeck program is clearly meant to be a James Bond-replica — fake Russian accents included (Kira was involved in a shuttle/transporter/holodeck malfunction, which is why she is so in-character).
- The 2007 BBC1 adaptation of Ballet Shoes features at least two, possibly three. With one, Petrova Fossil (played by London-born Yasmin Paige) the accent is not an issue- the character was brought up in England and accordingly has an English accent. She does on occasions have a Yulia Tymoshenko-style hairdo (Ukrainian, but near enough). The funny thing is that Timoshenko (nee Grigian) isn't Ukrainian herself — she's Russian-Armenian, and speaks Ukrainian with a heavy Russian accent. Her hairdo is an attempt to distance from her roots and lure hardcore Ukrainian nationalists to support her.
- Several episodes of Law & Order: SVU feature bad Russian accents, most glaringly "Russian Love Poem" in the first season.
- In an Angel episode, Summer Glau played the ghost of a Russian prima ballerina. The accent was fairly decent, as was the ballet—she is a trained dancer.
- The Criminal Minds episode "Honor Among Thieves," involving Russian emigres and the Russian mob, combined actors from all over the place: two were Polish, one was Croatian, several were Americans of Russian descent, and at least one or two were from Russia.
- On JAG, Harmon Rabb's half brother Sergei Zhukov is played by Canadian Jade Carter. Evidently he won the part over several Russian actors.
- The TV adaptations of John le Carré's "Karla trilogy" feature, among others, Curd Jürgens (German) as an Estonian exile and Michael Lonsdale (French) as a Russian bureaucrat. Also Patrick Stewart is Smiley's counterpart and foe Karla, although he more or less dodges this trope by having no spoken dialogue.
- Reilly, Ace of Spies features New Zealander Sam Neill playing a Ukrainian Jew pretending to be Irish. With Translation Convention being used throughout, a load of English actors play Russians using British accents.
- Russian Idol.
- The MacGyver episode "Gold Rush" had several supposedly Russian characters. MacGyver full stop, really.
- In the revival of Red Dwarf, there was a Fanservice-y science officer called Katerina Bartikovsky, who spoke with some kind of accent.
- British actress Zuleikha Robinson as Ilana Verdansky on Lost.
- In the first few episodes of Dollhouse, we are led to believe that the character Enver Gjokaj plays is that of Russian mob goon Lubov—of course, this is only an imprint and he is in fact the active named Victor. Worth noting here is that Gjokaj's accent was so good and his name so exotically Eastern-European (though he's actually Albanian) that a lot of viewers never thought to guess his character was anything but what he seemed at first.
- It's also later established that "Victor" is actually American.
- Black Books has an episode with a Russian piano teacher played by Scottish actor.
- The Suite Life on Deck episode "Das Boots" had Sasha Matryoshka, a Russian junior chess champion played by Cody Kennedy, who's of Russian ancestry, but otherwise American as apple pie.
- Lampshaded slightly on Sex and the City with Carrie's inability to pronounce Aleksandr's name. He finally says "Call me 'Bob.'"
- On Six Feet Under, Ruth Fisher's Russian employer/paramour Nikolai is played by Ed O'Ross, a Pittsburgh-born and raised American of Czechoslovakian descent (his real last name is Orosz).
- On Chuck, Russian Arms Dealer Alexei Volkoff is played by former James Bond, Timothy Dalton. His big reveal had him switch to a Russian accent, but he slips back into an English accent most of the time anyway. It starts to make sense when we learn that Volkoff was actually an English scientist accidentally implanted with the "Volkoff" cover identity during a CIA experiment.
- On Nikita, one of the main characters is Alexandra Udinov a.k.a. Alex, daughter of a Russian oligarch, played by the half-Portuguese Lyndsy Fonseca. They do say that she had lost her accent over time, wanting to conceal her identity. During flashbacks with an accent, the role is played by Canadian Eliana Jones.
- Alias: Julian Sark is a borderline case as his exact nationality is never directly confirmed. He's played by American David Anders but the character speaks with an Irish-influenced British accent. The character is not British, however, he was merely educated in Britain and spent a lot of time in Galway. It's eventually revealed he's the son of a Russian diplomat and was sent to Britain at a young age to escape from his father's abusive behaviour.
- Andrian Lazarey is a Russian diplomat and descendant of the Romanov family. He's Sark's father and is played by American Mark Bramhall, making him a straight example of this trope.
- Averted on Deadwood, where the Russian character Blazanov was played by Moscow native Pavel Lychnikoff.
- In Degrassi, Russian-Canadian teen Zig Novak and his heavily-accented immigrant mother are played by Ricardo Hoyos and Shauna MacDonald respectively.
- Happens in-universe on Bones. In one episode, Booth and Brennan join a circus with a Knife-Throwing Act. The circus director tells them that they need a gimmick, and they decide on "Boris & Natasha and their Russian Knives of Death", complete with Booth/Boris in a humongous fur coat and a fake mustache.
- Sergei Malatov in The Wire, a Ukrainian played by American Chris Ashworth. His last name isn't even a Ukrainian name. Likely to be intentional, as most of the Greek's people are implied to be using fake names and nationalities - including the Greek, who isn't actually Greek.
- On The X-Files, we have Alex Krycek; he speaks fluent Russian and has an obvious Russian-sounding name, but claims his parents were 'Cold War immigrants') played by Canadian actor Nicholas Lea.
- Krycek is not a very "Russian" sounding name, but more like corruption of a Czech or Slovak name.
- In the second season of True Detective, Frank Semyon's business partner, Osip Agranov, is played by Irish actor Timothy Murphy.
- Mike Nelson as a Soviet cosmonaut in a Joel-era episode of MST3K. Say "hello" to ''Sari Andropoli!''. This bit is also a case of Foreshadowing and Hilarious in Hindsight for obvious reasons.
- The Russian Keyser Söze Expy Berlin (Milos Kirchoff) on The Blacklist is portrayed by the Swedish Peter Stormare, who has a history of being Type Cast as this kind of character.
- The Americans : Played straight by the protagonist couple (an American and a Welshman) and the handlers, averted otherwise by most of the supporting Soviet roles, played by Russian actors who speak actual Russian in their scenes.
- Tom Lehrer's "Lobachevsky" is sung in a fake Russian accent. One part of the song actually includes lines that are instructed to be sung in Russian (if the audience doesn't speak Russian) or in gobbledygook (if they do).
- The Leningrad Cowboys are actually Finns.
- In Paranoia, members of the "Commies" secret society tend to speak in fake Russian accents. One rulebook recommends using Pavel Chekov's accent as a guide.
- In Werewolf: The Apocalypse core rulebook, there is a picture of a werewolf from the Silver Fang ("Серебряные клыки" in Russian) tribe over the Cathedral of Vasily Blazhenny, titled: "СЕРЕБРЯНЫЦ КЛЫКЦ". This has become a meme among Russian WtA fans. Perhaps compounded by the fact that the werewolf in question appears to be the signature character King Albrecht; while the Silver Fangs as a tribe are associated with Russia, Albrecht himself is thoroughly American (and, to top things off, once called a Russian Silver Fang he didn't like a "commie bastard").
- Not only does Chess have several Russian characters likely to be played by non-Russians, its creators made the mistake of naming one of them "Svetlana Sergievskynote ".
The original Anatoly on the concept album (and the West End production) was Swedish performer Tommy Korberg. His accent is tough to place, sounding somewhere between English (to match the rest of the cast) and his native Swedish. Bjorn Skifs, the original Arbiter, is also Swedish, but his character's nationality is made intentionally ambiguous—pretty much the only thing we can say for certain is that he isn't American or Russian.
- The Heavy from Team Fortress 2, who has a Slavic accent, is played by the same voice actor who does the Demoman.
- British actor Gary Oldman put on a fairly convincing Russian accent as the badass Sgt. Reznov in Call of Duty: World At War.
- Averted, humorously enough in a scene from the first Modern Warfare game where you are attempting to ambush and capture Victor Zakhaev. Your character actually sits up in the guard tower with Griggs while Captain Price and Gaz go about Dressing as the Enemy Griggs says that Soap looks nothing like a Russian.
- Juhani. The same voice actor went on to portray Jack in Mass Effect 2, who does not speak with anything remotely resembling a Russian accent.
- Call of Duty and Command & Conquer: Red Alert both has enough of linguistic and cultural pratfalls in "red balalaika" style that they are attractive for Russian-speaking players just because of the inherent hilarity (as great Easter Egg feasts). Not counting such obvious over-the-top things as paratrooper bears. The more "realistic" and "live" images are, the crazier they look. Starting from its trailer. On the other hand, as long as Ivana Milicevic◊ in that... "uniform" is there, who cares about what "regalia" she put on?
- Bishop Ladja in the Nintendo DS remake of Dragon Quest V. It helps boost his image as a cold-hearted villain.
- Jim Cummings does a good job of this in Baldur's Gate as Minsc, who is from the Forgotten Realms land of Rashemen (geographically located in the same area as Belarus/Western Russia).
- Minsc has the same name (phonetically) the capital city of Belarus; one would hope that he would have something of a Slavic bent.
- Dynaheir (who is also from Rashemen) and Edwin (from neighboring Thay) are also varying degrees of fake Russian, although Dynaheir edges close to What the Hell Is That Accent?, sounding like some sort of mixture of russian and french. Jaheira (from Tethyr, located on the opposite end of Faerun) also had a fake Russian accent in the first Baldur's Gate for some inexplicable reason, but it's significantly toned down for the second game.
- The voice emotes for Draenei PCs (and most NPCs) in World of Warcraft have Hollywood-Romanian accents.
- The Metal Gear series has many, most notably Revolver Ocelot (voiced by three Americans, but his mother is American). In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, however, which entirely takes place in Russia, nobody has an accent at all, as part of the Translation Convention. Well, except Granin.
- Surprisingly averted in the English version of the video game Metro 2033, whose voice actors happen to actually be Russian native speakers (in both the original and the dub), with the exception of Yuri Lowenthal and Steve Blum, who sound quite convincing. For some reason, people complained about the allegedly bad fake Russian accents being cartoonishly goofy and over the top.
- The voice work improved in the sequel, Metro: Last Light. Despite the continued use of Russian actors in the dub, complaints still rolled in about the obviously fake and exaggerated accents.
- The Russian voice option in Saints Row: The Third is done by American voice actress Tara Platt.
- Played with in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney with Olga Orly. Orly is only pretending to be a Russian waitress (at a Russian restaurant known as the Borscht Bowl Club) in order to cover up her real job as a con artist.
- Earl Boen seems to do this quite often, voicing Sergei Gurlukovitch in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Colossus in the first X-Men Legends.
- Street Fighter IV has Peter Beckman as Zangief. Starting with Street Fighter X Tekken, he adds the slightly broken grammar to it.
- Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain and Dark Mirror have Jennifer Hale, a Canadian, as Mara Aramov, and she doesn't handle the accent too well.
- Old Psygnosis Humongous Mecha simulator Krazy Ivan starts in the former Soviet Union and has a speaking cast of five. The Military Maverick pilot and his two Mission Control officers all sound like they took speech lessons from Natasha and Boris. As the introduction video shows, it's crushingly obvious that none of them are native Russians in the slightest.
- Shadow War Of Succession has the allegedly Russian agent Sasha "No von vill stand in my vay!" Romanoff.
- PlanetSide 2 has the "Comrade" voicepack for Terran Republic soldiers, with a hilariously fake Russian accent with gratuitously rolled Rs; "I need a r-llll-ide!". The female version is slightly better, though still fake.
- Maria Tachibana in Sakura Wars is half-Russian, though the series plays up her Russian-ness so much that if not for her name you'd never know it's only half (though it's justified by her having a Russian upbringing). Her US voice actress in the anime decided to give her a Russian accent, which would have been a nice touch if she could imitate one worth a darn.
- Thunder from Dirty Bomb may be an In-Universe example according to Sparks, who thinks that Thunder just created a whole new identity from nothing following the dirty bomb attacks on London and is just pretending to be Russian.
- A Miracle of Science, though it's not clear whether this failure happened in or out of the 'Verse.
- Pitr from User Friendly - though he's a Life Embellished version of an Estonian co-worker, the author thought it would be funnier to give him a "blatantly fake Slavic accent." (Estonians, for the record, aren't Slavic, though he didn't actually say they were.)
- Pitr's fake-Russian dialect is actually justified - he spoke standard English at the beginning of the strip. He later adopted the accent to reinforce his "Evil Genius" persona.
- Pitr actually does have Russian ancestry, as indicated by his bio. At first, he pretended his accent was an attempt to be more connected to his family because he didn't want them to know he was trying to be evil.
- Linka, the Ukrainian Wind Ring from the Planeteers in Captain Planet and the Planeteers was voiced by Katherine Soucie, an American voice actress. She can be identified by misplaced inflections and occasionally misusing a phrase.
- Jetstorm and Jetfire from Transformers Animated are voiced with Russian accents.
- Ravage from Beast Wars has a similar accent.
- Parodied in Total Drama Action in the spy episode when Chris claims a butchered accent— the stumped cast guesses Jamaican, Japanese, Swedish, French and Italian in order— is Russian.
- A generation of kids learned how to speak with a bad Russian accent from Boris and Natasha spies from the fictional country of Pottsylvania on Rocky and Bullwinkle.
- Dr. Andre Chezko from Speed Racer: The Next Generation. In-universe. For he is actually none other than Wilson "Sparky" Sparkolemew.
- In-Universe, Olaf the emperor penguin from Kaeloo. The Season 2 finale reveals that he is actually not from Russia, but from Planet Smileyland's equivalent of Antarctica.
- Many chess champions were described as "Russian," even though they were:
- Latvian: Mikhail Tal (Mihails Tals)
- Armenian: Tigran Petrosian
- Azeri: Garry Kasparov (though ethnic Armenian through his mother and Russian Jewish through his father; he did retain Russian citizenship after the fall of the USSR, though, and presently is active in the Russian opposition to Vladimir Putin)
- The "Russian linesman" from the 1966 FIFA World Cup was actually Azeri.
- Modified example: After the breakup of the Soviet Union other athletes were heard to bemoan the amount of "Russians" now in the games. "It used to be you had to beat the Russian, now you have to beat the Russian, the Kazakh, the Uzbek, the Georgian...THEY'RE ALL RUSSIAN!"
- Actors from former Yugoslavian countries working in the USA or United Kingdom are usually cast as Russians, mainly because Yugoslavia wasn't behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.
- On British TV, Serbian actors Branka Katić and Dragan Mićanović played Russians on the TV series Auf Wiedersehn, Pet. Katić has also played Russians on Trial and Retribution and H G Wells: War With The World.
- This applies to various leaders of Russia itself: among others, Catherine the Great was originally a German princess and Josef Stalin was a Georgian.
- The entire Romanov Dynasty, by the time of Russian Revolution, was probably far more German than Russian by ancestry.
- It can become complicated as many nations, now independent, were under the rule of the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union. If "Russian" identifies a subject of the Russian Empire, then a lot of people who were not "ethnic" Russians were still Russians. Russians themselves don't help with this much since their idea of what an "ethnic" Russian is quite flexible.