- "Hail HYDRA."
- ―Vasily Karpov
Colonel Vasily Karpov was a HYDRA operative embedded inside the Russian Armed Forces who was given the responsibility for overseeing the Winter Soldier Program, successfully arranging the assassination of Howard Stark and the deployment of the newly created Winter Soldiers. Decades after leaving the organization, Karpov was found and tortured by Helmut Zemo for information, but Karpov still refused to betray HYDRA for Zemo, who killed him.
Handling Winter Soldier
In 1991, while working for HYDRA, Karpov revived the Winter Soldier from a cryogenic sleep at the HYDRA Siberian Facility and activated Barnes using a set of conditioned trigger words. Barnes was then dispatched to intercept an automobile carrying a case of Super Soldier Serum, and assassinate its occupants.
Creation of Winter Soldiers
Succeeding in acquiring the Super Soldier Serum, Karpov oversaw the creation of the Winter Soldiers, an elite group of five HYDRA assassins infused with the serum. During one of the training sessions the Winter Soldiers, except for Bucky Barnes, lost control and started a riot, during which they rebelled against their HYDRA handlers. However, the soldiers were presumably subdued by a group of HYDRA guards and were eventually put under deep sleep in Cryostasis Chambers. Karpov left Russia and presumably immigrated to the United States after abandoning HYDRA.
Questioned by Zemo
Twenty-five years later, Helmut Zemo arrived at Karpov's house in Cleveland, Ohio in the United States of America. There, Zemo partially submerged Karpov's head in a sink filling with tap water to extract the 1991 mission report from him. However, Karpov refused to talk, so Zemo took the book with the trigger words to operate Barnes and abandoned him. Heavily restrained and unable to lift his head from the water, Karpov spoke the HYDRA oath before drowning in the overflowing sink.
- Marksman: Karpov was skilled in the use of wielding his pistol.
- Bilingualism: Karpov spoke his native Russian as well as English.
- Makarov PM: Karpov carried this handgun while stationed at the HYDRA Siberian Facility. He resorted to pulling the gun when he realized the Winter Soldiers went out of control and were about to kill everyone inside the training exercise, so he ordered the original Winter Soldier to take him to safety while aiming the gun at the rest of soldiers. Once HYDRA fell and Karpov moved to Cleveland, he took the handgun to his house for safety, but he was unable to retrieve it when Helmut Zemo attacked him in his house.
- Winter Soldier Book: Karpov owned a book which contained the information regarding the trigger words to activate the Winter Soldier. He used the book before the Winter Soldier's mission to assassinate Howard Stark. After Karpov moved to Cleveland, he kept the book hidden behind a wall, only for Helmut Zemo to steal it and to kill Karpov.
- Helmut Zemo - Killer
- In the comics, Vasily Karpov is a ruthless but efficient Soviet officer involved in a joint operation with Captain America and the Invaders during World War II, in which he helped foil a plot of Red Skull and Master Man and rescued Alexei Shostakov. He was also partly responsible for the creation of the Winter Soldier.
Behind the Scenes
- Karpov's hiding in Cleveland was inspired by the real history of John Demjanjuk, who hid in Cleveland to avoid his death penalty for his crimes during the Holocaust.