|“||For this critical a mission, we are allowing you access to Soldier Volkov. Use him and his cybernetic dog to sabotage the Allied control center.
- Soviet advisor, introducing Volkov(src)
Volkov (Russian: Волков) is a Soviet cyborg supersoldier appearing in Red Alert expansion packs, along with his trusty companion, Chitzkoi. He is the most powerful unit in the game (as of his Counterstrike appearance) and is the greatest commando in Stalin's army. Volkov is playable in four missions throughout the expansions, and in the fifth one, after Allied capture, he becomes a powerful "boss" enemy.
The exact origins of Volkov are unknown. He is a cybernetic soldier created by Soviet scientists as the ultimate weapon of war, with extremely durable armored plating and equipped with heavy weapons.
As befitting his status as an elite soldier, Volkov was given tasks unsuited to conventional forces.
Before full conversion into a cyborg, Volkov was one of the greatest soldiers of the Soviet Union, frequently called upon to carry out top secret assignments that could not be entrusted to anyone. Two most notable of these operations are the stopping of a rogue Soviet faction from unleashing a deadly biological weapon and stealing an experimental Allied vehicle and field testing it against its creators. The latter missions were carried out with help from Chitzkoi, his canine companion.
His physical prowess and battlefield expertise made him a natural choice for an experimental augmentation process developed by Soviet engineers. Together with his canine companion, Volkov was turned into a super soldier, a cyborg, capable of taking on entire enemy platoons at a time and survive with only minor damage. His first deployment was in Austria, where he was sent to aid Soviet forces in destroying Allied research into Soviet nigh-invincible armour plating. While Soviet forces besieged the facility, Volkov and Chitzkoi parachuted behind enemy lines to destroy the command center controlling the defenses. When the defenses were disabled the Soviets assaulted and destroyed the facility.
The final appearance of Volkov was in the mission Deus Ex Machina, where Allied forces had captured Volkov and wished to learn his secrets, and Soviet forces were sent to stop this. The fate of Volkov can go in three ways: recapturing Volkov before he is excessively tampered with, which presumably leading to his decommission, failing to save Volkov before the Allies reprogram him and make him fight alongside them, or if the factory he was held captive in is attacked, he goes berserk and fights Allies and Soviets alike until his destruction.
Volkov appears in the Counterstrike and Aftermath mission expansion packs for Command & Conquer: Red Alert. His armor type effectively makes him a walking tank, surpassing even the Soviet Mammoth tank.
In the Counterstrike mission Soviet Soldier Volkov & Chitzkoi he is armed with a cannon and may engage the cruisers encountered on more than equal terms.
In Aftermath he appears in multiple missions and is armed alternatively with either the purely anti-infantry gun (presumably armour piercing silenced pistol) or the cannon. The only ground unit that could theoretically take on Volkov is the equally ridiculously well armored Soviet Super tank. But as the only two prototypes were deactivated by the Allies, that is a question that will never be answered. Effective counter to Volkov is anything out of range of his weapon, notably aircraft with anti-infantry weaponry. Artillery can also be used, provided that they are speedy enough to escape or are beyond walking range of Volkov (i.e separated by natural obstacles).
In the Soviet's final campaign of Red Alert: Retaliation there is a mission to rescue (or recapture) Volkov from Allied hands. The commander will be given three Scientists: if these scientists are deployed to recapture the fake factory where the Allies have stashed Volkov (and no other obstacle is in the way), Volkov may be returned to the fold again.
Oddly enough for this mission, perhaps due to the game engine's limitations, Volkov is equally as vulnerable to attack dogs as all other infantry, making the latter an extremely cheap and easy method to counter him instead of relying on brute strength.
Behind the scenes
Contrary to popular belief, Volkov is not featured on the cover art for Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2. The character was only referred to by name once on the old official game website, and he shared the name with the actor Igor Jijikine who already had a number of roles in the game.
The soldier featured on the European cover of Command & Conquer: Red Alert may not have originally intended to be Volkov, given it was not only made by Virgin UK independently from any Westwood influence but also before any expansion packs were planned. However, perhaps in response to fan speculation, an official emoticon for the Steam release of the Remastered Collection featured a face bearing an unambiguous resemblance to the Red Alert cover including the ushanka hat with star and green eyepiece over the right eye. This emoticon is named :Volkov:, and appears to be the first official visual representation of Volkov beyond the in-game reuse of General Stavros' unit sprites.
- An overpowered "boss" enemy concept was reused in the end of Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun: Firestorm.