Koskov is a deceitful, sociopathic Soviet general in business for himself, who carefully plays both sides of the Cold War. Initially, Koskov gives the impression of a somewhat anxious pawn in the battle between the Soviet Union and the West, when he is, in reality, a mastermind using all means to his own advantage. He is prepared to dote on his mistress and give her all manner of expensive gifts, but when necessary will easily sign her death warrant.
Koskov fakes his own defection using his girlfriend Kara Milovy as a sniper to make it look real. James Bond is assigned in aiding him across the border into Austria. Koskov is, however, working with Brad Whitaker in an illicit arms and drug deal. At a safe house in England, Koskov falsely and deliberately fingers KGB head General Pushkin as the mastermind of "Smiert Spionem" or "Death to Spies," a plot to kill off American and British spies, but Bond suspects the truth. After Koskov is recaptured by the KGB following a raid on an MI6 safehouse after his debriefing, MI6 dispatches Bond to terminate Pushkin despite the 00 Agent's doubts.
Bond eventually discovers through his contact with Kara that defection was not Koskov's true intent, and in an attempt to lure him out conspires with General Pushkin to fake the latter's death. Bond fakes Pushkin's assassination in Tangier just as Necros was ordered to carry out the attack himself, and Koskov moves forward with his plans upon this news. He tricks Kara into incapacitating Bond and flies the two of them to Soviet-occupied Afghanistan where the two of them are to be imprisoned. Despite their eventual escape, Koskov was still left to operate freely.
It is later discovered that Koskov is misusing funds from the Soviet Union to purchase a massive supply of opium with a street value of $500 million from the local Mujaheddin drug lords in Afghanistan; he and Whitaker would then distribute the drugs through the United States and reap huge personal profit in the sales, while still buying up plenty of advanced armaments through Whitaker to bolster the Soviet occupation of the country. Intending to disrupt this exchange, Bond trails Koskov back to the airbase, where he is later rescued by his newfound Mujaheddin allies as they attack the Soviet forces. Amidst the confusion, Bond and Kara hijack the aircraft carrying Koskov's newly purchased opium supply, and make their escape despite Koskov and Necros' attempts to stop them.
Ultimately Koskov is captured by Pushkin just as Bond kills Whitaker in Tangier and is returned to his motherland under armed escort. It is implied that he is to be executed.
- Koskov and Dominic Greene are the only main antagonists of the James Bond series not to be killed onscreen.
- Unlike fellow villains General Orlov and General Ourumov, Koskov's uniform is adorned with dark blue trimmings as opposed to the typical red. This signifies that Koskov's rank was part of the airborne division of the Soviet Military.