Husky Russkie

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Wrestling bears for Mother Russia.

"Big Russian guy with big guns, all those American and their stereotypes!"

Molotov, Facebreakers

"I must break you."

Ivan Drago, Rocky IV

Ah, Mighty Glacier. Strong, brutish, big, strong, not so bright (unless that is point), strong... Because Mother Russia Makes You Strong.

And in video games, he is being almost invariably Russian. Other countries are, in some rare cases, substituted, but video game's large fellow often has good chance of being from former Soviet Union. May also be replacink the g in -ing works with k, for example; drinkink, skiink, dancink, and so on.

May have one of five possible names: Ivan, Vladimir, Yuri, Dmitri, or Boris.

This actually is not beink limited to just games. Apparently it has been common stereotype in Western film for Russian men to be depicted as large, boorish "bears" who are speakink in broken English. However, is most visible in video games. Especially fightink games.

Often tend to be either The Brute or Boisterous Bruiser, often dependink on what side they are beink on. Owink to greater yemotional freedom yin Russian culture, may also be Emotional Bruiser.

This seems to be becomink either Evolving or Discredited Trope; however, more recent games such as Team Fortress 2 breathing new life into trope for sheerest Camp value.

If you went back to Seventies and asked someone what Husky Russkie was being, they'd assume you were referrink to woman. See also Mother Russia Makes You Strong.

Examples of Husky Russkie include:

Anime and Manga

  • Argo Gulskii from G Gundam. He is The Big Guy of the Five-Man Band and relays heavily on brute force when fighting, but outside the ring he's a very calm and honorable Big Brother Mentor towards the group. In fact, Argo is so calm and strong in mind and heart that he didn't show mental/emotional damage after being Brainwashed and Crazy via DG Cells.
    • Commander Yuri Kerane from Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team is another Gundam example, though not he's not explicitly described as Russian and is a pretty competent commander who cares about his men despite having all the social charm of Gaston. It's still obvious what the writers were getting at, though. Interestingly, Ginias Sakharin could be considered a complete inversion of this trope, because despite also having implied Russian heritage (his surname), his design and mannerisms are anything but husky and brutish. And for even more irony, Ginias actually causes Yuri's death towards the end of the series.
  • Ivan Braginski/Russia from Axis Powers Hetalia mixes this with many dashes of Cute and Psycho, Psychopathic Manchild and Jerkass Woobie traits. However, he insists that he is only "big-boned."
  • Rodchenko from Eyeshield 21 takes this to a whole new level by being the world record holder in the bench press.
  • Subverted in Hajime no Ippo. Russian boxer Alexander Volg Zangief is a force to be reckoned with inside the ring... but in normal life he is soft-spoken, friendly, humble to the point of borderline shyness, a sort of Momma's Boy and very gentle (and has quite the Ho Yay with Ippo, Yaoi Fangirls say). He's not even that tall, either, compared with other boxers of the same cathegory.
  • Nastasha Radinov from the Gunsmith Cats anime is a female example.
  • Simon Brezhnev from Durarara!! is a giant, black, Russian sushi chef. But he's a sweet guy, really.
    • And too modest to admit that he's the only one who can go toe to toe with an enraged Shizuo. The actual chef and owner of the shop is a smaller example, but burly compared to the rest of the cast. It's implied that both of them have seen enough violence in their lives, and don't welcome any more of it.
  • Boris from Black Lagoon. He also subverts it by being under the orders of a somewhat shorter woman named Balalaika... who, on the other hand, is a Magnificent Bitch as well as a very powerful Dark Action Girl.

Comic Books

  • Piotr "Peter" Rasputin aka Colossus in X-Men, and unlike most of the trope examples he's an art student and fairly intelligent.
    • Also, aside from the spattering of Russian words that some writers (notably Chris Claremont) liked to spatter into his dialogue, Colossus speaks English with an American accent, thanks to being taught the language telepathically (this detail is easy to miss, which is why he speaks with a Russian accent in the cartoons).
  • The Russian from The Punisher, although the comic book version was a truly over-the-top version... even when he got huge breasts. He's a big, big man with inhuman physical might—and a near-total invulnerability to harm.
  • Red Scare from The Tick (animation)
  • The Titanium Man had a pretty large commie under all that armor, too- and strong enough to use the armor without powered controls.
    • Like Titanium Man, most of the people inside the Crimson Dynamo armor have been slow witted behemoths.
    • Also Mongu, who subverts the stereotype by actually being a smaller man inside a set of Powered Armor that looks like a barbaric giant.
    • Most versions of Spider-Man foe Kraven the Hunter; in the original comics, Sergei Kravinoff could wrestle a lion in his sleep even without the mystic potions and herbs he uses when officially on the hunt. His son Aloysha, on the other hand, once knocked out the Rhino with one blow. Again, though, Kraven and his sons all used what amounted to herbal steroids to achieve this level of power.
  • Kyuzo from The Red Star, Maya's bodyguard.
  • "Love Sausage" from The Boys.
  • In the Marvel universe, a mutant named Mikhail Uriokovitch Ursus, also known as Ursa Major. As if he wasn't already big, muscular and a great fighter, he can transform into a bear, with super strength and endurance. He's also actually pretty smart too.
    • Ursa Major has a teammate in Perun, the Slavic god of thunder whose is possessed of greatly intimidating size and strength, as well.
  • The Hulk has his nemesis Emil Blonsky, The Abomination. A gamma radiated one at that.
  • In the Marvel G.I. Joe comics, Boisterous Bruiser Horror-show, the heavy weapons expert of the Oktober Guard, seems to fit this trope (His action figure was codenamed "Big Bear"), although he's technically Georgian. Subverted by the rest of the Guard, who have similar builds as other members of G.I. Joe and COBRA.
  • The aptly-named Mother Russia from the second series of Kick-Ass. Seven-foot woman with an eyepatch, arms like utility poles, and a cold, murderous disposition.


  • Ivan Drago from Rocky IV. Drago's pretty lean compared to Rocky, but he's much taller and has a much longer reach.
  • Ivan Checkov from The Boondock Saints
  • Ivan Danko from Red Heat
  • Though not technically an Ivan, Boris the Blade from Snatch
  • Ivan (What a surprise) Vanko in Iron Man 2, who can take a car crushing him against a wall repeatedly. The exoskeleton he's wearing barely gives him any protection either. He also nearly managed to beat Tony Stark in his Iron Man suit.
  • "The Russian" from The Punisher (2000's). No Name Given if memory serves, but probably named Ivan.
    • No Name Given indeed. He has no name other than "The Russian" in the comics, and he is a recurring villain with some decent evolution. Knowing that he suffered several brain damages (punches, bullets, airplane crash), it's arguable whether he knows his own name.
  • One of those rare non-Ivans is Nikolai from Predators, a beefy Spetznaz commando who's also one of the nicer dudes in the cast. He may be partially based on the Heavy Weapons Guy (see below), since he befriends a bespectacled doctor, wields a minigun, and has a son named Sasha (which is what the Heavy calls his gun). Also one of the (formerly) rare cases where such a character is played by an actually Russian actor/bodybuilder.
  • Yuri in 2012, stated to be a boxer in his earlier days. He apparently can still run as if he were in his prime, however.
  • Technically Chechnyan, but referred to in the movie as a Russian war criminal, one of the two gentlemen who guard Uri's money in RocknRolla definitely qualifies, despite being nameless. The other guy...well, he's not that big, but he has a most impressive six-pack. You WILL question your manliness. Also, neither of them will frickin' die, no matter what you hit them with.
  • Petrov, The Dragon from the Bruce Lee movie The Chinese Connection.


  • Sanya, from The Dresden Files, is a holy knight whose muscles cause instant feelings of masculine inadequacy in Harry Dresden. He's also a Twofer Token Minority, being a rare Russian Scary Black Man. In his first appearance he speaks decent if not perfect English, but in later appearances he speaks quite fluently. He actually invokes this trope in Changes, when he interrogates a captured hitman by picking up the board he's been taped to with no particular effort, and in a thick Russian accent, threatens to break the man in half and chuck him in the incinerator. Taken Up to Eleven in the audiobook of the scene, where James Marsters puts a hilariously-thick accent to Sanya's voice.
  • Var Varovitch (Raven) from John C. Wright's War of the Dreaming.
  • Ivan, better known as the Fabinator, in the young adult novel Bad Kitty. (And he's definitely Fetish Fuel for Roxy.)
  • Mikael, from Ulises Silva's novel Solstice is described by Io as "a Russian native, 6'5, 280lbs of pure muscle" with thickly-accented English.

Professional Wrestling

  • Many of pro wrestling's Evil Russians are big bruisers to boot; WWE's Vladimir Kozlov is simply the latest iteration of the model.
    • In a subversion, only a handful of them were actually Russian. Kozlov is at least close in being Ukrainian. (That is, close in that "Viewers are Morons that can't tell the difference" sense.)
    • More classic examples are Nikolai Volkov and AWA's Russian Brute, who both played up the "I must break you" kind of thing.


  • Boris Kolenkhov is described in the script of You Can't Take It with You as "enormous, hairy, loud, and very, very Russian." Though he's a dance tutor, he recommends wrestling as a hobby to Mr. Kirby, on whom he performs some wrestling moves to demonstrate.

Video Games

  • Pictured above: Probably the Trope Codifier -- Street Fighter‍'‍s Zangief. He's not the tallest World Warrior (the Mexican T. Hawk, the German Hugo, and the Thai Sagat edge him out there), but he's certainly the most muscular and probably the most physically powerful.
  • Karnov, by Data East.
  • Vodka Drunkenski in Punch-Out!!
    • You mean Soda Popinski.
      • Punch-Out!! Wii turns this Up to Eleven by making him, 6'6", the tallest character in the game even taller than Final Boss Mr. Sandman although he might be shorter than Donkey Kong and he does the cossack dance when he wins. Also, in a possible Shout-Out to Rocky IV, after losing to Mac, scientists create a chemical formula to make him faster and stronger. * COUGH Ivan Drago COUGH!*
      • The funny thing being that the contender mode montage (instead of the tougher Title Defense mode) features him performing rustic workouts like Rocky did in that movie.
  • Likewise, Bayman from the Dead or Alive series, although his character seems to be a touch more intelligent than the usual. But just a touch.
  • Molotov from Facebreaker, a stereotype he's quite sick of.
  • Mikhail in Psychonauts is a kid version of this. He wants to fight bears, thinks that American girls aren't any good for wrestling, and eventually becomes Maloof's body guard. It doesn't hurt that he's telekinetic. Also physically huskiest amongst the kids.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Colonel Volgin is a bit of one of these. And a Depraved Bisexual. And a Psycho Electro.
    • But then, Snake Eater was set in Russia; they didn't have much choice on his nationality.
      • Like thats stopped Metal Gear before.
    • Subverted with the rest of the cast, who range from scrawny (Sokolov) to average (numerous NPCs)
  • Minsc from the Baldur's Gate games. More cheerful than most examples. Named for Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
  • Inverted in the Saturday Night Slam Masters games, where Russian Biff Slamkovich, a former sparring partner of Zangief's, is the Jack of All Stats; the British-born Giant Titanic Tim stands over two feet taller than him.
  • Although the bulky Duo from Mega Man 8 is actually some type of Alien/Robot/Police Officer, according to an interview with Keiji Inafune, he was originally supposed to be the Russian Dr. Cossack's newest robot. Some of the Russian influences are left in his design, like his huge buttons and his hat, so he sort of qualifies as a Husky Russkie.
    • Then again, Duo had a different look before encountering Mega Man and crew, and was rebuilt into that design by Dr. Light.
      • If one really wants to be technical, Dive Man qualifies among Dr. Cossack's Robot Masters.
  • The Heavy of Team Fortress 2. Though he acts the part of the Exceptionally Loud Mighty Glacier on the battlefield, he displays traces of intelligence in his Meet the Heavy video. Also, don't get between him and Sasha.
  • Flak troopers in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 are described as "brutish." They have a deeper accent than most of their countrymen. so Husky Russkie to Russkies, then?
  • The Draenei of World of Warcraft could arguably be classified as an entire race of Husky Russkies, due to their vaguely Eastern European accents (though Mileage Varies on how "Russian" they sound).
  • In Super Dodgeball Brawlers, while the team with the highest average Power stat is Saudi Arabia, Russian team captain Moldof is tied for most powerful single player (with series headliner Kunio).
  • General Tatarin from Freedom Fighters is technically a citizen of one of the satellite republics, but otherwise fits the bill.
    • Especially with his mighty, bear-like "supersonic bitch-slap" (when he smacks Troy in the first cutscene, you don't hear the sound of it until his hand is way past Troy's face).
  • While not the absolute strongest, Ivan in Jagged Alliance and its sequel is a powerhouse. The absolute strongest character? A Polish ex-firefighter.
  • Alpha Protocol has Championchik, an Olympic Champion boxer who serves as the bodyguard for Surkov. Mike has to eventually deal with him, but seeing as Championchik relies totally on his boxing skills, he could always just pull out a gun on him.
  • Potemkin of Guilty Gear is from Zepp, which has many parallels with Ruritania.
  • Ivan the Bear from Brutal Paws Of Fury isn't the tallest fighter, but he is the heaviest and hits the hardest (three fierce punches will knock out any opponent).
  • Sergei from Call of Duty: Black Ops.
  • Mr. Hammer and Mr. Sickle, a.k.a. the Abramovici brothers, from Batman: Arkham City.
  • Chernobog from Eagle Eye's Kings Row "drug busters" arc in City of Heroes.

Western Animation

Web Comics

  • In Lackadaisy Cats the bartender/rum runner/former muscle Viktor embodies this trope. He's not actually Russian, he's Slovakian (Strapping Slav?) but the accent is similar enough when rendered in text.
  • Dead Winter brings us Yuri, one of the members of the bloodsport assassin hunting 'game' that privides part of the subplot, though he is mostly seen during the intermission strips.

Web Original

Real Life

  • Many Russians (who are indeed on the bigger side of the scale statistically) are perfectly aware of this trope and like to play it out, pulling those Westerners' legs.
    • Partially averted by the "whippet-thin boy with a face like a porcelain doll who looks like he stopped aging at around fifteen" phenotype which is also common in Russia.
      • Russian males tend to fall distinctly into either the "before military service/dodged the draft" tall thin Backstreet Boy teenagerish look or the "post military service" brawny type. Almost no ambiguous middle ground exists and next-to-no males (but more than a few females) are obese, rather than bulky and muscular, so it's very much an either/or, no third choice given. The former is generally a college kid stuck at a perpetual high school senior level of social development and living up the image, while the latter is bullish, boorish, likes faux gangsta talk, and wears an immense quantity of bling. Due to the fall of the Soviet Union and older generations' inability to adapt, youthfulness is associated with success; also, social attitudes are that anyone who actually managed to get conscripted was "too dumb or poor to buy or cheat his way out of the draft", so the ex-army image is damaging to one's social status. Hence, a borderline gayboy image is often carefully crafted and maintained to radiate status and success. Also, due to a natural propensity for height and bulk in the population, keeping a "big guy" persona is harder to pull off, since non-exceptional mass is merely average.
      • Average sizes for comparison: jeans 31-32, tshirt L, jacket 40Long USA (50-52 tall Russian/Euro) for the whippet thin boys, jeans 40, 2XL, jacket 46 (58-60 Russian/Euro) for the big guys. Literally everyone seems to wear one of these two size sets. Height/weight wise, it's 175–190 cm/60–75 kg for the eternal youths, and 170–200 cm/120 kg for the bruisers. For reasons unknown, ALL unusually short or unusually tall (by local standards) males fall into the bruiser category only. Extremely short = about 5'8" or under, noticeably tall starts at 6'3". .
  • Fedor Emelianenko. Undisputed heavyweight mixed martial arts world champion, defeated only once due to an accident. His brother Aleksander, also an MMA fighter, counts as well.
  • Peter The Great. He was also a Genius Bruiser and one of those Royals Who Actually Do Something
    • Not to mention he had a justified reputation for wrecking homes across Europe with his wild booze parties.
  • P.J. O'Rourke, in his book "Eat the Rich", records his visit to Russia, writing "Russians are a people of largeness- large bodies, large gestures, large voices. In fact, Russians are enormous. Being an average-size American in St. Petersburg is like being a girl gymnast at a Teamster's Convention. And these are Russians who were raised on potatoes and suet with bread that you could use for a boat anchor. Envision them after twenty years of good nutrition. Twenty years from now, Americans may ask themselves if winning the cold war was worth losing the Super Bowl."
  • General Vasiliy Kostenecky, the hero of the Patriotic War of 1812 and a venerable giant, who could personally drag a stuck cannon out of a bog.
  • In an animal example, there's the Siberian cat breed. National cat of Russia, it's stockier, stronger and slightly larger than most other cat breeds.
    • Likewise, the Siberian tiger. Tigers are big anyway, but the Siberian is generally larger and heavier than other subspecies, and has a thicker coat that makes it look larger still.
  • Candid Camera pulled this stunt several times: a frail blonde damsel in distress would be deposited on some street corner with two large suitcases. The suitcases looked identical, but one was empty and the other would be filled with concrete, weighing at least 200 pounds. When some big strong man approached, she would ask him to help with her suitcases ... then she would pick up the empty suitcase and walk away, while the hidden camera recorded the reaction of the poor schmo as he tried to pick up the other suitcase. On one occasion, the "Candid Camera" gang tried this in Moscow. The blonde pulled the routine on a burly Russian pedestrian ... who picked up the 200-pound suitcase and followed her effortlessly.
  • Vasili Alexeyev, the famous champion Olympic weightlifter, is an almost embarrassingly stereotypical example of this trope.
  • Alexander "The Experiment" Karelin, a Greco-Roman wrestler who has won three Olympic, nine World Championship and twelve European Championship gold medals. This at-the-time 286-pound man routinely won matches with his "Karelin Lift", which involved him picking up similarly-sized men and slamming them down onto the mat like a rag doll often as they lay flat to avoid being thrown. Can best be summarized by this image.
  • A behavioral version of this trope was noted by body language experts who studied the body language of Russian leaders compared to American leaders. While the body language for American leaders tend toward a somewhat stiff, almost military-like bearing, Russian leaders tended to swagger as if they were the largest person in the area. A news clip of George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin walking side by side was cited by these researches as a perfect illustration of these contrasting tendencies. clip here.
  • Russia traditionally does well in weightlifting, judo and gymnastics. Oddly enough, they're also good at fencing and tennis, although these people are more often female.
  • Russian boxer Nikolai Valuev, former holder of the WBA heavyweight title, is seven foot tall and weighs 325 pounds.
    • He suffers from acromegaly, which is rather evident from his face structure. And one of the symptoms of this endocrine disorder is gigantism — famous French wrestler André the Giant (who also had acromegaly) even got his nickname from this condition!
    • Also, Ukrainians Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, who stand at about 6'6 and 6'8 respectively, and go into the ring at 240 and 250 pounds. They hold all four heavyweight titles between them. A Klitschko fist may be bigger than your head.
  • This trope is so prevalent in international sporting events that several past victories over Russian juggernauts are considered a Crowning Moment of Awesome for the victors.
    • The 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team is the most famous example... but it doesn't really match: the Soviet team was precise, not big and nasty (in hockey, the big and mean stereotype goes to the Canadians).
    • Rulon Gardener over Alexander Karelin in Greco-Roman Wrestling.
  • Alexander Ovechkin.
    • Subverted: Alexander Semin.
  • Vitaly Petrov, Russia's first Formula One driver, is currently the tallest driver on the grid at 1.85 meters (about 6') and one of the heaviest. Started rather weakly in 2010, may have better luck at 2011 if his third place in the 2011 Australian GP says something.
  • Alexander "The Experiment" Karelin, a Greco-Roman wrestler who has won three Olympic, nine World Championship and twelve European Championship gold medals. This at-the-time 286-pound man routinely won matches with his "Karelin Lift", which involved him picking up similarly-sized men and slamming them down onto the mat like a rag doll often as they lay flat to avoid being thrown. Can best be summarized by this image.