America has led the way in representing people of all different kinds on film. This goes for all forms of media, it isn’t difficult to see trends in culture like how nowadays characters commonly spend a lot of time using their smartphones. One very popular trend in US culture stemmed from the Cold War where the trust for Russia sank incredibly low. As a result of this the antagonists in almost all media were commonly given a Russian heritage and some of the 20th Century’s most iconic villains were ‘born’ within soviet borders. However, this isn’t always the case, here are some modern Russian heroes.
Film – Ivan Danko
Thanks to his incredible bodybuilder stature on screen, Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger stormed cinema in the 80’s. This gave people a prominent figure from Europe who Americans could associate with several non-English speaking regions. Schwarzenegger quickly became an action staple and here he helped put Russians in a good light as he played an honest cop alongside an American accomplice. Being the first American film allowed permission to film in the Red Square, this action film did a surprising amount of good for helping mend some bridges.
TV – Chekov
From the unforgettable and well loved sci-fi Star Trek comes one of the longest running, beloved Russian characters on any screen. Pavel Chekov played originally by Walter Koenig back in the 60’s was brought onto the enterprise to appeal to younger audiences, the role was more recently taken up by the late Anton Yelchin in the reboots. The character is known to be highly intelligent as well as friendly, something which isn’t usually represented by Russians on screen. Star Trek is essentially a future utopia, where all humanity has settled its scores and lives a life of exploration and diplomacy instead of infighting. Having a Russian aboard this crew was clearly a nod to ending the bad blood between countries.
Comics – Colossus
Good versus evil is constant clash in comic books, however there are some Russian characters that fight on the side of good here. Piotr Rasputin is one of the toughest and most honourable members of the X-Men, able to stand his ground alongside the top players thanks to his immense will and steel skin. Here he is often placed alongside fan favourite Wolverine (who is actually Canadian, but nonetheless) where they share a solid friendship and take down evil in amazing combo moves. X-Men is all about people being outcast, and showing the humanity of a fellow Russian goes a long way in showing that we are all the same in one way or another.
Games – Zarya
There are several games where you fight against Russians, or maybe play as some dastardly ones such as in the Command and Conquer series. In Blizzard’s smash hit Overwatch Aleksandra Zaryanova is a powerful female player who uses her immense size and groundbreaking Russian tech to become a reckoning force on the battlefield. Though she is strong herself she mainly provides much needed protection for her teammates, shielding them and herself from attacks. Finally she is instrumental in finishing off the enemy as her ultimate move draws opponents into one place allowing for concentrated fire to finish them off. She is a true cooperative character who makes other players feel safe having her by their side.