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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]
In the film, long after Hitlers Reich crumbles he states that the Soviet Army divisions in East Germany are under his direct command, implying that he is commander-in-chief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. He wears the rank insignia of a lieutenant general.
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 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 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 state depositories and replacing them with counterfeits. He gets 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 friend and accomplice, 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.
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.
Finally Orlov also catches up with the circus train. However, he is gunned down by border guards 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 peace with the West. He 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.
Henchmen and Associates
- 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 villian in Octopussy not to be killed by James Bond.