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General Leonid Pushkin (Russian: Генерал Леонид Пушкин) is a fictional Soviet general and the successor of Anatol Gogol. A major character portrayed by British actor, John Rhys-Davies, he only appeared in the 1987 James Bond film, The Living Daylights.


"You are professional, you do not kill without reason."
― Pushkin to Bond, whilst held at gunpoint.[src]

Soviet "defector", Georgi Koskov, informs MI6 that the KGB's old policy of Smert Spionam, meaning "Death to Spies", has been revived by General Leonid Pushkin, the new head of the KGB. Koskov is later abducted from the safe-house and assumed to have been taken back to Moscow. Bond is directed by M to track down Pushkin in Tangier, Morocco, and kill him in order to forestall further killings of agents and escalation of tensions between the Soviet Union and the West. Although James Bond's prior knowledge of Pushkin initially leads him to doubt Koskov's claims, he agrees to carry out the mission when he learns that the assassin who killed 004 (as depicted in the pre-title sequence) left a note bearing the same message, "Smert Spionam."

Meanwhile, Pushkin meets with arms dealer Brad Whitaker in Tangier, informing him that the KGB is cancelling an arms deal previously arranged between Koskov and Whitaker. Bond, arriving in Tangier, confronts Pushkin in his hotel suite as he got ready to spend time with his mistress, Rubavitch. The Russian General disavows any knowledge of "Smert Spionam", stating that the KGB deactivated Smert Spionam decades earlier and reveals that Koskov is evading arrest for embezzlement of government funds. Bond and Pushkin decide to let Koskov progress with his scheme by faking Pushkin's assassination; Bond "kills" Pushkin as he speaks to a trade convention in Tangier. Ironically, Bond saves Pushkin; Necros was about to kill Pushkin before Bond appeared and shot him first, which later revealed he wore a Kevlar vest and blood pack to fool Necros, Koskov and Whitaker into thinking he was killed.

Pushkin makes one final appearance after Bond later returns to Tangier to dispatch Whitaker. Following the arms dealer's demise, Pushkin arrives later and saves Bond by shooting Sergeant Stagg. Then, his men bring Koskov out, who is happy he is alive and tried to trick Pushkin into thinking Whitaker held him, but Pushkin arrests Koskov, sending him back to Moscow "in a diplomatic bag". After having Koskov taken away, Pushkin apparently helps Bond to clear his love interest Kara Milovy of any wrongdoing, as she had been Koskov's unknowing pawn and has her amnestied.

Behind the scenes

Originally, the KGB general set up by Koskov was to be General Gogol; however, actor Walter Gotell was too sick to handle the major role, and the character of Leonid Pushkin replaced Gogol, who appears briefly at the end of the film, having transferred to the Soviet diplomatic service. This was Gogol's final appearance in a James Bond film.

Similar to Milos Columbo in For Your Eyes Only, Bond was initially led to believe Pushkin was the enemy, only for him to ultimately be an ally against the real villain.

John Rhys-Davies was optioned to revive his part in both Licence to Kill (1989) and GoldenEye (1995) in the scripting stages.[1] In GoldenEye, just like in The Living Daylights, Pushkin was going to be used as a pawn in the main villain's scheme, but was finally replaced with Dmitri Mishkin.



  • General Pushkin's name is a slight in-joke. The names Gogol and Pushkin both refer to great Russian-language writers.