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I would turn my back on God Himself for Mother Russia.
~ Ivan Korshunov

Ivan Korshunov (Russian: Иван Коршунов) is the main antagonist of the 1997 film Air Force One. He is the lead hijacker of Air Force One and is also a Radek loyalist.

He was portrayed by the Academy Award winning actor Gary Oldman, who also played Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula, Drexl Spivey in True Romance, Norman Stansfield in Leon: The Professional, Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg in The Fifth Element, Dr. Zachary Smith in Lost in Space, Mason Verger in Hannibal, Carnegie in The Book of Eli, General Grawl in Planet 51, Ruber in Warner Brothers' Quest for Camelot, Lord Shen in DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda 2, Dreyfus in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Vladislav Dukhovich in The Hitman's Bodyguard.


You talk as if you have nothing to do with this! This is all of your doing, this infection you call freedom, without meaning, without purpose. You have given my country to gangsters and prostitutes. You have taken everything from us! There is nothing left! (spits at Marshall)
~ Ivan Korshunov's rage against President James Marshall.

A former political comment operator for Moscow Radio, Korshunov is a politically motivated, Cold War-era Russian terrorist born in 1958, he and his comrades plan to hijack Air Force One in an attempt to force the President of the United States to release Russian dictator General Alexander Radek from prison. Korshunov and his comrades disguised themselves as journalists. They were cleared to board Air Force One, the aircraft of the President of the United States, by using fake identities and fingerprints, those of deceased journalists (possibly murdered by Korshunov and his gang). After takeoff, the group went into the weapons cabinet with the help of a corrupt Secret Service Agent and take bulletproof vests and weapons, using them to take control of the plane and keep the passengers as hostages.

Before the plane could land at Ramstein, Korshunov kills the pilots and one of his men, a trained pilot named Andrei Kolchak, takes control and gets the plane back the air. He calls the Vice President, Kathryn Bennett, and demands the release of General Alexander Radek, a brutal communist dictator whose one-year regime in Kazakhstan took the lives of 200,000, in exchange for the hostages and would kill one every half an hour that passes without Radek being released. When the deadline came to an end, Korshunov intended to execute the First Lady, but Jack Doherty, the national security adviser, talks to him. Doherty compares the Vice President's role to the Queen of England, basically that she does not have much power. He suggests that Korshonov let him talk to Bennett. She calls, Korshunov learns that Radek has not been released yet. He then executes Doherty. He tells Bennett that Doherty was a very good negotiator, "he just bought you another half hour".

Later, he murders Melanie Mitchell over the intercom in an attempt to get who he believes is a Secret Service agent (who is actually President James Marshall), who is hiding in the cargo hold, to come out and surrender. The president winds up cutting the fuel wires and the plane begins losing, "dumping", fuel. Marshall contacts the White House and tells them that he is going to get the hostages to parachute out of the plane while the terrorists are distracted with the midair refueling. Most of the hostages escape, but Marshall himself is captured by the terrorists. With Marshall captured and his hands tied up with duct tape, Korshunov beats him up and tortures Marshall and explains his rage to him, saying that Marshall had given his country to "gangsters and prostitutes".

He puts a gun to his daughter's head and orders Marshall to tell the new democratic president of Russia, Petrov, to release Radek immediately, and Pretrov reluctantly obeys. A helicopter and some loyalist soldiers greet him. Korshunov rejects his promise to let the hostages go once Radek is released, but Marshall has a backup plan. Marshall uses a glass shard to cut through his bonds and kill the remaining two terrorists, including the terrorist pilot Andrei Kolchak. Korshunov drags the First Lady into the cargo hold, using her as a hostage. Marshall opens up the cargo hatch and wraps a parachute cord around Korshunov's neck before telling him to get off his plane, and letting it go, snapping his neck and causing him to be flung from the plane. His dead body then floats away into the distance, still attached to the parachute. Finally free, Marshall calls Petrov to call off the release. The prison guards tell Radek to halt. Radek makes a run for the helicopter as a gun battle erupts between the loyalists and the prison guards. Just as he reaches the helicopter, he is shot to death by snipers.

Korshunov's Terrorists

  • Andrei Kolchak (second-in-command, best friend & pilot and the secondary antagonist of the 1997 film "Air Force One")
  • Boris Bazylev
  • Igor Nevsky
  • Sergei Lenski
  • Vladimir Krasin (who was also a close friend of his, as they both fought the Afghans together)
  • Gibbs (Mole)


Ivan Korshunov is a psychopathic man that does not necessarily enjoy killing, but feels compelled to do it for the benefit of his country, which he feels has been corrupted and weakened after Radek was imprisoned. Despite this, Korshunov is a very brutal man, willing to kill anybody without hesitation in order for his demands to be met, including women and children. Korshunov did so without mercy or pity and often turned on the intercom system so the President could hear his co-workers beg for their lives and die. Korshunov reveals that he does not think of himself as a monster and that he has a wife and three young children, making his ruthless actions even more interesting. Korshunov claims that he knows what he is doing is wrong, but he would turn his back on God himself for his country, making him truly believe his views to the point of severe radicalism. Korshunov was also a highly intelligent guy, having successfully taken over Air Force One nearly single handed, and got into a cat-and-mouse game with the President of the United States, which he almost won.


  • When you talk to the President, you might remind him that I am holding his wife, his daughter, his chief of staff, his national security adviser, his classified papers AND his baseball glove! If he wants them back, he will prevail upon the puppet regime in Moscow to release General Radek.
  • I will await confirmation that General Radek has been released. Until then, I will execute a hostage every half an hour...You have my word.
  • More time? Your national security adviser has just been executed. He's a very good negotiator. He bought you another half-hour.
  • Он служил со мной в течение пяти лет в Афганистане. Выясните, кто убил его, или вы будете лежать рядом с ним. (He served with me for five years in Afghanistan. Find out who killed him or you will lie down next to him.)
  • Is this the first time you've seen anyone killed? You think I'm a monster? That I would kill this man? Somebody's son, somebody's father? I am somebody's son, too. I have three small children. Does that surprise you?
  • Because I believe. When I shot this man, I knew in that instant, I would turn my back on God Himself for Mother Russia. My doubts, my fears, my own pride and morality! It is all off in this moment. You know, your father he has also killed. Is he a bad man?
  • Why? Because he does it in a tuxedo with a telephone and a smart bomb?
  • You, who murdered a hundred thousand Iraqis just to save a nickel on a gallon of gas are going to lecture me ABOUT THE RULES OF WAR? DON'T!
  • The President is safe. But then you must know that. He ran from here like a whipped dog! I'm sure you can't wait for him to get back to making the decisions so you can stop sweating through that silk blouse of yours!
  • What do I want? When Mother Russia becomes one great nation again; when the capitalists are dragged from the Kremlin and shot in the street; when our enemies run and hide in fear at the mention of our name and America begs our forgiveness, on that great day of deliverance, you will know what I want.
  • Finish this with one phone call!
  • The most powerful man on the Earth, now, now suddenly there are things you cannot do. This is very curious, stop with your f**kin' LIES!
  • Really? His wife, his daughter? A man could not live with himself. And it would be...bad politics...I think he will negotiate.
  • I kill one of them. You pick. It's what you do in the White House. You play God.
  • I know what you're thinking, First Lady. You want me dead. Well, we may come to that. In a war, people die.
  • This is bulls**t! It's simple physics. Without fuel the plane crashes, [scoffs] everybody dies!
  • You make one mistake when you killed my pilot, Mr. President. No one left to fly the plane!
  • Whatever happens, you lose, and I win!



  • In the film credits, Korshunov's first name is given as Ivan. However, during the film, his first name is shown to be Egor when his identity is being checked. Korshunov's actual name is most likely Egor because this is what is shown in the film itself, with the name given in the credits having possibly been confused with Ivan Radek, another character from the film. It is also possible that his name is Ivan, while Egor is his Russian journalist alias.
  • The novelization offers a middle ground explanation; neither Egor or Ivan Korshunov are his real name. Both are aliases. His real name is never revealed in the book.
  • On set, director Wolfgang Peterson said that Oldman was so genial and carefree only to resume a heartless and evil character. In fact, Oldman was apparently so hilarious on set that Peterson nicknamed the film "Air Force Fun".
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