Red Guardian: General Aleksander Lukin, under the authority of President Yeltsin, you are hereby under arrest [...] for crimes of treason against Mother Russia.
Lukin: Mother Russia? I'm sorry to tell you that I am all that is left of the true Mother Russia, boy.How to have a Red Scare villain without insulting the Soviet Union or the Russian Federation. The Renegade Russian, formerly Renegade Soviet before The Great Politics Mess-Up, is or was a member of the Soviet/Russian military, government, or Secret Police. They are involved in an evil scheme as either The Dragon or Big Bad. However, there's one big caveat. Their actions are neither authorised nor condoned by the Kremlin. Indeed, the Kremlin may well be actively trying to stop them, at the time of the Détente in particular. If you're too bad for the Soviet Union, then you are really bad. While they'll likely be a Generic Doomsday Villain in a Cold-War era story, they may well have Communist beliefs in a post-Cold War story, often trying to Make the Bear Angry Again. In any case, expect the renegade to be a former Red Army officer or KGB agent in both eras. Also note that such characters may technically be from smaller republics of the former USSR, instead of Russia itself. See also The Mafiya, another popular Russian villain group that similarly includes a lot of Former Regime Personnel. More broadly, compare Renegade Splinter Faction and Rogue Agent; nowadays you're also likely to see renegades from Red China. Some works have also used renegade Terrorists Without a Cause arising from real paramilitary conflicts like The Troubles or The War on Terror, taking advantage of an convenient source of villains without delving into actual politics. And of course there's the tried-and-true technique of simply creating a Fictional Country — along the lines of Ruritania, Qurac, Bulungi, or a Banana Republic — to cash in on The Theme Park Version of a regional geopolitical situation while ensuring that No Communities Were Harmed. Given the nature of this trope, it goes without saying that it doesn't really apply to actual Russian stories, where these would just be just generic villains.
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- General Nikolai Alexandrovich Zakharov from The Punisher MAX, is a low-key example. Its unlikely he'd ever openly move against the Russian government, but he despises The New Russia and its government, considering them traitors who threw away the sacrifices made for the Soviet Union and whored out the country for profit.
- In an issue of Teen Titans, a Renegade Russian, who blames the USA for the death of his family, infects a young woman with a virulent plague and sends her to the US to spread it. The Russian government sends their superhero Red Star to stop her, leading to the requisite misunderstanding (and superhero fight) with the Teen Titans.
- Batman once fought the "NKVDemon", a Russian Super Soldier, when he tried killing the new Soviet leadership, starting from the bottom and going right up to Gobrachev.
- And a few years before that, the KGBeast went against his government orders to kill ten political targets, the last one being Ronald Reagan. He was also the NKVDemon's mentor.
- "The Crossing Line", an old Avengers storyline by Fabian Nicieza, features a group of Soviet soldiers who have decided that starting a global nuclear war would be, uh, good for the economy. Not unreasonably, the Soviet government disagrees, and the official Soviet supers team up with the Avengers and Alpha Flight to take them down.
- Dr. Voronov in The Voronov Plot is a Soviet scientist who attempts to launch a series of bacteriologic attacks targetting the Western Bloc and un-stalinist Soviets, by using an alien bacterium which has just been discovered.
- Aleksander Lukin of the Captain America: Winter Soldier arc was a high-ranking Soviet general disgruntled by the fall of the USSR. He uses his megacorp Kronas International to fund his secret mercenaries to commit acts of terrorism, hoping to weaken the US and revive the Soviet Union. In his first scene, Red Guardian attempts to arrest him on Pres. Yeltsin's orders, but Lukin murders him, denying any treason.
- A Chinese variant in Iron Man villain the Mandarin, at least in his earliest appearances. While he lived in and occasionally helped Red China, it was made clear from his debut that he thinks himself above both Beijing and Washington, and he routinely humiliates the PLA officials sent to negotiate with him.
- The James Bond movie series has had a few:
- Rosa Klebb in From Russia with Love. (In the novel, she is explicitly working for the USSR.)
- Averted in For Your Eyes Only, which is the only James Bond movie in which his enemy is a communist agent acting with the blessing of his government.
- General Orlov in Octopussy. A crooked and power-hungry officer, he wants to do his country an unasked favour by blowing up a nuke in Western Germany, but ends up getting shot by GDR border guards before Gogol can arrest him for theft and embezzlement of Soviet state funds (to pay the terrorists).
- Christopher Walken's character in A View to a Kill is a French millionaire installed by the Soviets. When he goes rogue, the KGB itself attempts to get rid of him. After Bond finally manages to kill him, he is offered the Order of Lenin from Gogol.
- General Koskov from The Living Daylights, who tries to implicate his boss, Pushkin, as one. Pushkin then has him arrested and executed on the spot for double treason.
- General Ourumov from GoldenEye. Xenia Onatopp also counts.
- General Chang in Tomorrow Never Dies was to be conveniently delayed by traffic when Beijing was to be struck by a nuke previously stolen from a British warship, whereupon he would launch a coup and take command of the Chinese government. (In the novelization, the Chinese government sends their agent to find Chang, since he stole a high-tech radar system. He is later arrested for the theft and treason.)
- Valentin Zukovsky's nephew, the captain of a nuclear submarine, in The World Is Not Enough. They had no clue about the real plan.
- Colonel Moon, a renegade from North Korea, in Die Another Day. Though he does gain the loyalty of the North Korean generals after the coup. (Except, oddly enough, Moon's father, an officer with a great deal of common sense.)
- Ramius and his officers in The Hunt for Red October — according to their government. Ramius planned to defect with his brand new hi-tech submarine, so the Soviet Ambassador fed the US government the Renegade Russian line to get them to sink him.
- In the novel, the Americans know that Ramius is defecting and the Soviets say they are conducting a rescue mission. They say the Kremlin will not use the renegade story, since it will indicate that the Soviet government has lost control of the military.
- Telefon (1977). A KGB clerk, motivated either by Stalinist sympathies or an insane need to write his name in history, steals a list of Manchurian Agent saboteurs in the United States and tries to start World War III. An interesting twist in that the protagonist (played by Charles Bronson) is a KGB agent trying to stop him. A further twist is that his KGB bosses neglected to inform the new Premier of these agents, so they can't just get him to inform the Americans as they'll be for the chop.
- In Crimson Tide, the nuclear threat is from a Siberian separatist who hijacked a missile emplacement on the Kamchatka Peninsula.
- In the third The Librarian film, the main villains are these, hoping to revive Dracula and use him to create a vampire army to reconquer and restore the Soviet Union.
- The Soldier (1982). Renegade KGB steal nuclear material and, posing as terrorists, threaten to detonate an atomic bomb in the Saudi oilfields unless the US forces the Israelis off the West Bank.
- True Lies: Renegade Middle Easterners? Sounds like Crimson Jihad.
- General Chan Lu from the remarkably silly Battle Beneath The Earth is an example of the Renegade Chinese version.
- The villains in Salt are a group of KGB Communist hardliners that somehow outlived the Cold War.
- Terrorists led by Ivan Korshunov in Air Force One.
- Star Trek:
- Commander Kruge from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, who unilaterally decides to take his ship to the Genesis planet, attack Federation starships and murder Federation scientists in an attempt to learn its secrets.
- Given that the Klingons are Cold War analogs, the renegade Klingon commander on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier counts as a sci-fi version of this trope.
- General Chang from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, who is plotting with other renegades from the Federation to prevent peace between the two powers.
- The entire House of Duras in Star Trek: The Next Generation, whose non-stop scheming eventually escalates into a full blown civil war where they try to take over the Empire. Obedience to the ruling authority doesn't seem to be the Klingons' strong suit.
- Inverted in Dr. Strangelove, whose villain is an American renegade who launches a nuclear attack on the Soviets without authorization.
- Ivan Vanko/Whiplash, to a certain extent in Iron Man 2.
- In Wild Wild West, Loveless seems to find quite a few influential British, French, and Mexican allies to go along with his plan of dividing the United States and granting its land to its previous owners.
- A couple of examples from the Alex Rider series of books, since they draw a lot of inspiration from James Bond. Most notable are General Alexei Sarov from the third book, Skeleton Key, Yassen Gregorovich, who appears in Stormbreaker and Eagle Strike, and Nikolai Drevin from the sixth book, Ark Angel.
- While Dale Brown novels often use a remilitarised Russia, Act of War and Edge of Battle has explicitly ex-military Colonel Yegor Zakharov and his men.
- Rainbow Six has Dmitriy Arkadeyevich Popov, a former KGB intelligence officer who instigates terrorist incidents on behalf of the Big Bad. At least until he learns the truth of the plan, decides that Even Evil Has Standards, and turns informer.
- In the prologue to the Death Lands series about an After the End United States, a hardline communist faction called vseesozhzenie (terrible fire) tries to take out the US military and political command system by exploding three nuclear bombs in Washington D.C. during the Presidential inauguration, as a prelude to a nuclear attack. It doesn't go well.
- The Big Bad in James Bond novel Death Is Forever (which is set ten months after the dissolution of Soviet Union) seeks to restore international communism, and the book repeatedly posits the threat of people who won't give up on its ideology, and will continue to fight the west until the bitter end.
Live Action Television
- A few MacGyver bad guys.
- Jake20 used this.
- 24 uses this from time to time, particularly when Charles Logan shows up.
- Before subverting it in the final season.
- NCIS has these everywhere.
- Spooks has a very interesting variant in its tenth and final season. In this case, the renegades' endgame is to trick Britain into attacking a Russian jetliner bound for London, thus stopping a proposed Partnership and driving the two nations into war while simultaneously opening the way for the Ultranationalist Party to seize power in the Kremlin.
- The Last Ship: The Big Bad of the first season is Admiral Konstantin Ruskov, who took his ship rogue and refused to return it to dock when the Red Flu pandemic reached Russia, and is now seeking the cure as a means of creating a new world order. Though, since the Russian government and military have been wiped out, how "renegade" they are is debatable.
- The New Avengers: In the "K is for Kill" two-parter, Colonel Stanislav is a hardliner who is not happy with the thawing Cold War, and puts in a motion a scheme set up after World War II in an attempt to trigger World War III.
- The 1989 TV movie Red King, White Knight has the KGB hiring a foreign terrorist to kill Premier Gorbachev to stop his policy of perestroika.
- The similarly-named Zakhaev in Modern Warfare. Inverted in Modern Warfare 2 when we learn that Zakhaev's movement actually does take control of the Kremlin not so long after his death, and the second game instead makes the Bear angry again.
- In the second and third games, we have Vladimir Makarov, one of Zakhaev's proteges. Interestingly, he is a renegade to the very government that Zakhaev fought to instate because they couldn't handle his radical ideals (which, ironically, is what their martyr fought for).
- Callof Duty Black Ops has Nikita Dragovich planning to disperse lethal biological agents in major U.S. cities in a plot that is hinted to be running without anyone in the Kremlin either approving or knowing the full details. Much like Volgin's case below, this is an example that takes place when the Soviet Union is still around.
- And again, the also-similarly-named Zaitsev in Vanquish, who initiated a coup in Russia with his robot army.
- General Alexei Vasilievich Guba from the Operation Flashpoint series, particularly the first installment, Cold War Crisis. The year is 1985, and Guba and his loyalist troops have launched an unauthorized invasion on a certain backwoods island chain sandwiched between NATO and Warsav Pact territory. They have 2 stolen nuclear SCUD launchers and intend to provoke World War III between the East and West Bloc (because Guba is deeply disgusted by Gorbachov's perestroika and the decline of the economic and military might of the USSR).
- Colonel Volgin in Metal Gear Solid 3, an interesting example as the Soviet Union is still around during MGS3.
Ocelot: 20th century Russia had its share of problems, but at least they had an ideology. Russia today has nothing!
- Sergei and his daughter in Metal Gear Solid 2 seek to make Russia a superpower once again, while Ocelot just pretends to be affiliated with them. Though he does seem pretty disgusted with the state of post-Soviet Russia.
Snake: They're struggling between freedom and order, and a new spirit of nationalism has been born.
- Subverted with the Soviet personnel in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops: They were doing exactly what the Soviet government told them to do on the San Hieronymo Peninsula (build a missile base), and carried on with the top-secret mission while suffering all the while specifically because they thought doing the mission under the Soviet government would greatly benefit Russia. However, when Detente came, and the Soviet Union experienced a policy shift, the Soviet government screwed them over, cancelling all shipments and cutting all communications with them, not even allowing them to come home specifically because they wanted to make it seem as though the Soviet soldiers were of this trope in case the missile base was ever discovered. Suffice to say, the soldiers weren't pleased at this development.
- In Splinter Cell, General Kong Feirong and his faction of the PLA provide another Chinese example.
- Splinter Cell Chaos Theory gives us a Japanese example in the form of Admiral Otomo and his ISDF faction.
- GoldenEye Wii upgraded its Renegade Russians to accommodate advancing the story to 2010. General Ourumov became an under-the-table arms dealer out of jealousy toward rich, post-Soviet era oligarchs, while Xenia Onatopp is a veteran of the 2008 South Ossetia War who left the Russian army and went mercenary.
- Older Than They Think trope as far as video game plots go, actually, particularly for Mil Sims. "Red" Russian forces bent on restoring the old Soviet system by taking control of nuclear arms and facilities in Murmansk and the Kola Peninsula have served as the plots for the original Ghost Recon game and the study combat flight sim Jane's F/A-18. Both games predate Modern Warfare by seven years.
- Colonel Markov, General Stanisgeslov, and Major Illich from Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, whose coup forces against the Russian government of 2016 are called the New Russian Federation (NRF).
- Red Ivan from Evil Genius is an ex-Soviet commando who was exiled to a gulag for having a sadistic streak that even his old Soviet taskmasters found distasteful. Being betrayed left him disillusioned with Communism, but he also retains his hatred of western politics, making him the perfect tool for an Evil Genius out to cause global chaos.
- Modern military shooter spoof and Doom mod Call of Dooty parodies this. The player is clearly just fighting the same zombies, imps and demons from the core game, but the map designer just slapped a few hammer-and-sickles on the maps, while every character swears up and down that they're actually fighting Russians (on Phobos.)
- Sapphire: Boris Rubanenko. Officially, he pledges allegiance to the Soviet Union. However, in Episode I, he plans to nuke the West AND East indiscriminately, so that both sides will be weak enough for a Psychic takeover.
- Not to mention trying to start another war between North Korea and Japan in Episode II, plus whatever he has up his sleeve for Episode III...
- The group of military officers and KGB leaders who tried to depose Gorbachev in 1991.
- The second-latest addition to Russia's terror blacklist (February 2015) is a "People's militia named after Minin and Pozharskiy". Naming itself after the founders of an actual mass rebellion against foreign intervention in the early 1610s, it intended to combat the "Western invasion" and "corrupt and traitorous elites", including Vladimir Putin himself, apparently. Based on the court charges filed against individual members in 2011-2012, a group spearheaded by GRU and paratroop veterans planned to stage an armed insurrection in Yekaterinburg and Kovrov, sabotaging most of the civic infrastructure with the small strike groups they'd formed, while also gunning down any rabbi they could get in range of.