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General Gogol: "A common thief. A disgrace to the uniform."
General Orlov: "Yes...but tomorrow, I shall be a hero of the Soviet Union."
―General Gogol and General Orlov.[src]

Lieutenant-General Orlov (Russian: Генерал-лейтенант Орлов) was a fictional Soviet General and one of the main antagonists in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy. He was portrayed by British actor Steven Berkoff. The character also appeared in the 1986 James Bond 007 tabletop role-playing game.


Orlov is a megalomaniacal Soviet general who believes that the Warsaw Pact has a decisive advantage over NATO in conventional military strength that is being tossed away by its leaders in détente. Rejecting their diplomacy, he advocates a massive military attack in Western Europe to seize dominance of the continent and call (what he thinks is) NATO's nuclear bluff. However, his proposal for a full-scale invasion of Western Europe is flatly rejected, with General Gogol being the loudest voice, in part because NATO would respond with nuclear strikes that would escalate the conflict to a global nuclear war. Gogol also seems to hold Orlov in contempt, feeling that his thirst for power is dangerous.

To eliminate that objection, Orlov's plan involves the detonation of an atomic bomb at a circus performance inside a United States Air Force base in West Germany. The effects of the bomb would be indistinguishable from American atomic bombs, and the explosion would be assumed to be an accident (as a nuclear strike would trigger the Air Force's early warning systems), prompting nuclear disarmament throughout the West and the East. Under Orlov's reasoning, with the nuclear factor taken out of the equation, the superior numbers of the Soviets would then be able to defeat the West without threat of nuclear reprisal, or even resistance, from NATO.

Orlov's accomplice in this scheme is Kamal Khan, an exiled Afghan prince involved in jewelry smuggling. He pays Khan by stealing priceless Fabergé eggs from Soviet state depositories and replacing them with counterfeits. He gets James Bond's attention when MI6 agent 009, who had been working undercover, is killed with one of the counterfeits in his possession in West Germany.

With Khan's employee, Octopussy, the pair plan to use the latter's circus as a front for smuggling the original jewellery. Instead of selling the jewellery in Switzerland and split the profit, they replace it with the atomic bomb to detonate en route in West Germany, which Octopussy is unaware of.

Orlov being confronted with Bond

Bond eventually confronts Orlov and attempts to force him to stop the train carrying the bomb, but he is interrupted by Russian soldiers. Orlov and Bond both race to catch the train, with Bond unknowingly taking the General's car with the jewellery. Orlov commands his soldiers to pursue Bond's car, which crashes into a river just after 007 managed to jump onto the train.

Orlov dies after being shot by border guards

Finally Orlov also catches up with the circus train. However, he is gunned down by a border guard while trying to jump onto its back, as he has forcibly crossed the border between East and West Germany. By this point, General Gogol had discovered Orlov's role in the smuggling by retrieving Orlov's car containing the jewellery from the river. When the arriving Gogol calls him "a disgrace to the uniform", the dying Orlov utters his last words: "Yes, but tomorrow, I shall be a hero of the Soviet Union," unaware that James Bond is about to foil the scheme.


Orlov was completely insane, having a manic fixation with the USSR gaining complete power over Europe, as opposed to General Gogol, who preferred to make and keep peace with the West. Another Soviet flag officer also rejected Orlov's plan for different reasons: out of the belief that other societies would peacefully choose central planning. Orlov was also incredibly psychotic, not caring that thousands of people would die due to his plan. He also had no qualms with betraying Octopussy for his plan to succeed. In addition, he seemed to have a short temper, frequently snapping at people while arguing with them, seen most prominently in his confrontations with both General Gogol and James Bond.

Awards & Decorations

Despite his character flaws, there seems evidence that Orlov had been an effective military leader in the past, and had earned a number of medals for bravery and lomg service.

  • Hero of the Soviet Union: Orlov was awarded the honorary title 'Hero of the Soviet Union' for an heroic act for state and society. He received several privileges by getting this title. When he dies, his last words are the name of this citation. It was unknown if that was meant figuratively, in that he would go down in Soviet history as a hero who brought glory to their people though his megalomaniacal plans, or if that was meant literally, in that he expected to be awarded this honor a second time posthumously.
  • Order of Lenin: The highest civilian order (though also awarded to military personnel) was awarded three times to Orlov.
  • Order of the Red Banner: This order was awarded to Orlov twice for heroism in combat or long service in the armed forces.
  • Order of Kutuzov (First Class): This order was awarded to Orlov four times for his outstanding military leadership.
  • Order of Glory: This order was awarded to Orlov three times for his military actions against the enemy. Given by his age, he earned them either during the 1956 Soviet military intervention in Hungary, or during the 1969 border clashes with China.
  • Order of Alexander Nevsky: This order of merit was awarded to Orlov because of personal courage and resolute leadership as an officer of the army.

Henchmen and Associates


  • Although he is one of the main antagonists, he has only around 15 minutes of screen-time.
  • Steven Berkoff would later go on to play a similar Russian militant in the film Rambo: First Blood Part II.
  • He is the only male villain in Octopussy not to be killed by James Bond.


General Orlov/Gallery