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Oh, come off it. That surly c--t is squirming like a snake.
~ Zalachenko about Lisbeth Salander, his own daughter

Alexander Zalachenko is the main antagonist of The Girl Who Played With Fire and a minor antagonist of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

He is Lisbeth Salander's father and a criminal mastermind. He's an ex-Russian spy who defected to Sweden in the 1970s. In Sweden, he fathered Salander and her twin sister Camilla. He never married Salander's mother, Agneta, and frequently beat and raped her, once injuring her so badly he caused her permanent brain damage.

He was portrayed by Georgi Staykov.


Early life

Born in Stalingrad in 1940, Zalachenko was orphaned when he was a year old when his parents died in the Second World War. He grew up in the Russian military. When he defected to Sweden he changed his name to Karl Axel Bodin. It is said that he adopted Sweden as his home because there were few Jews there.


At age twelve, Lisbeth Salander, set Zalanchenko, her father, on fire to stop him from abusing her mother. We find out in The Girl Who Played With Fire that because of the damage to his body he had to have his leg amputated, and suffers from chronic pain. A rogue section of the Swedish secret service, SAPO, considers the intelligence he could offer as a Soviet defector more important than Agneta's civil rights or that of her daughter, so they have Lisbeth declared incompetent and institutionalized in order to protect him.   Years later, he runs a criminal empire based on drugs and prostitution, with his son Ronald Neiderman as his enforcer. SAPO continues to cover for him in order to use him as a national security asset, meaning that he is never arrested for his crimes.

Present Day

Mikael Blomkvist is on the trail of a new story about the Swedish Sex Trade. Lisbeth, who has been monitoring his computer, becomes obsessed when she reads of the brutal crimes and begins her own hunt for the culprits. The trail leads to Zala, a mysterious underground crime boss who has a penchant for torturing women.

Meanwhile, Salander's sadistic guardian, Nils Bjurman, hires Zalachenko to kill Lisbeth. Bjurman himself is soon killed by Neidermann, who with Zala, is lying in wait at a farm in Gosseberga to ambush Salander. During a brief confrontation, Zalachenko shoots Lisbeth in the head and buries her alive. She later climbs out and deals serious blows to Zalachenko's head and leg with an axe. Their injuries are so serious they are taken by air ambulance to a hospital.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

While Zalachenko is recuperating, a member of SAPO breaks into his hospital room and shoots him in the head to prevent him from testifying against the organization.

The Girl in the Spider's Web

The Girl in the Spider's Web, a continuation of the original series written by Daniel Lagerkrantz, reveals that Zalachenko had another daughter - Lisbeth's twin sister Camilla. She is just as amoral and cruel as her father, and as a child took sadistic delight in watching him beat her mother. After Zalachenko's death, Camilla takes over his criminal empire and renames it "The Spiders".


            Millennium Villains

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Martin Vanger | Gottfried Vanger | Nils Bjurman
The Girl Who Played with Fire: Alexander Zalachenko
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest: Peter Teleborian
The Girl in the Spider's Web: Camilla Salander | Jan Holtser
The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye: Benito Andersson | Bashir | Rakel Greitz