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Our so-called leaders prostituted us to the West... destroyed our culture... our economies... our honor. Our blood has been spilled on our soil. My blood... on their hands. They are the invaders. All U.S. and British forces will leave Russia immediately... or suffer the consequences.
~ Imran Zakhaev's speech following his son's death.
Imran Zakhaev (Russian: Имран Захаев) is the main antagonist of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (as well as the 2016 remaster of the same name) and a posthumous antagonist in its sequels, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
He was originally a Russian arms dealer before later becoming the founder and leader of the Russian Ultranationalists, a militant and political faction seeking the restoration of Russia to the days of the Soviet Union. On his quest, Zakhaev had instigated conflict around the world and aligned himself with numerous terrorist organziations in his quest for Russia's restoration.
He was voiced by the late Russian actor Yevgeni Lazarev, who also portrayed Anton Vanko in Iron Man 2.
Failed Assassination Attempt
Fifteen years prior to the outbreak of the Second Russian Civil War, Imran Zakhaev was a black market arms dealer who smuggled weapons to various clients around the world. He witnessed the fall of communism and the eventual collapse and dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Zakhaev had saw the collapse of the communist regime as an opportunity to salvage radioactive material from the Chernobyl nuclear powerplant in Pripyat, Ukraine to sell them on the black market. Through the profits that he gained from his illegal activities, Zakhaev would use them to rally up a fighting force to fund and form his own extremist faction intent on taking over the Russian government and restoring the former Soviet communist regime.
His illegal criminal activities were noted and discovered by British Special Air Services and the organization eventually carried out its first assassination mission since the end of the Second World War. The SAS dispatched Lieutenant John Price and Captain MacMillan to Pripyat, an abandoned ghost town since the 1986 nuclear disaster, with the intent on assassinating Zakhaev. There, the peaceful countryside was found to be sweeping with Russian mercenaries that Zakhaev had employed, but Price and MacMillan had ghillie suits so they were able to sneak by and eventually find the position they needed to be at for the operation. When Zakhaev met with his clients in the abandoned city center, he was shot by Price with a Barret M82 sniper rifle which shot off his right arm. He was originally thought to have died of blood loss, but he managed to survive and resurged years later to restore the Soviet Union and conquer Russia and get revenge against the Western Powers.
Zakhaev's Master Plan
Fifteen years later in 2011, Zakhaev reappeared and was now the Chairman of the Ultranationalist Party. In his opinion, the pro-western Russian government had "prostituted" Russia to the west, ruining the country;s economy, culture, and pride in the process. Having harbored a strong and deep hatred for the Western Powers, Zakhaev sought to return Russia back to its "prime", the days of the Soviet Union, and possbily even the return of Soviet-era conditions prior to the union's dissolution, but with himself in power this time. To topple the Russian government, Zakhaev had started a political crisis which eventually broke out into an all-out civil war by 2011 which engulfed all of Russia and other parts of the world. The Ultranationalists were supported by Soviet-era military hardware such as BM-21 rocket artillery, BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, and Mi-24 attack helicopter gunships. His son, Viktor, joined his cause and became a field commander for the Ultranationalist ground forces.
The Second Russian Civil War had broken out and it became a major event that would decide the fate of world peace as the conflict soon spread beyond Russia to engulf parts of the former Soviet Union and even the Mdidle East due to Ultranationalist support for OpFor forces in the Middle East who overthrew a western-backed regime in the country. If Zakhaev were to win and sieze power, he would have control over the entire Russian nuclear aresenal of 15,000 active nuclear warheads. During the civil war, factions of the Russian military defected to the Ultranationalists while the rest fought on behalf of the pro-western government and formed the Russian Loyalists.
Middle East Coup
Zakhaev had known that his plan would never work as he knew that the civil war would easily attract the attention of western powers such as the United States and United Kingdom who would fight to maintain the wester-backed Russian government. To divert their attention away from Russia, Zakhaev had made an alliance with a Middle Eastern warlord and terrorist leader known as Khaled Al-Asad and funded his coup against his rival, President Yasir Al-Fulani. Al-Asad eventually launched a military coup and it was a success as Al-Fulani was captured and Saudi Arabia was eventually taken over by the OpFor, prompting the United States to send troops to the region, diverting attention away from the civil war in Russia. Fulani was brought before an arena surrounded by OpFor insurgents where Zakhaev was present, handed Al-Asad a desert eagle and saw Fulani's execution on live television broadcasted to the entire world. Al-Asad's take over was eventually met by the deployment of the United States Marine Corps to Saudi Arabia to overthrow Asad and eventually forced him to retreat to the nation's capital. There, a Russian warhead was handed over to Asad and he fled into a safehouse while Vladimir Makarov, Zakhaev's protege, had detonated the bomb on behalf of his orders, destroying the city and killing 30,000 Marines and countless OpFor fighters in the process.
The attack had shocked the world and make Al-Asad and Zakhaev two of the most wanted men in the entire world. During their hunt for Asad, he was found hiding out in Azerbaijan under the protection of a large detachment of Ultranationalist fighters. A fight soon broke out in the village and Asad was eventually found hiding out in the farm far north of the town. He was eventually captured and interrogated on where he got the bomb, when his phone rang and Zakhaev was revealed to be on the phone. Not to long after the call, John Price, who had the cellphone, shot and killed Al-Asad at point blank and eventually told what happened fifteen years prior. The next day, an Ultranationalist force was dispatched to pick up Al-Asad, when Price and his team ambushed them, but the Ultranationalists overran them and forced them to make a quick retreat.
Viktor Zakhaev's Suicide
After Britain and the United States knew of Zakhaev's plot to distract them and divert attention away from Russia and towards the Middle East, the Special Air Service and the United States Marine Corps were called into action and participated in a joint operation where the two were sent to track down and eliminate Zakhaev before he could overthrow the loyalists in Russia. In order to find out where he was, they decided to track down and capture his son, Viktor Zakhaev, a field commander of the Ultranationalist ground forces. SAS-USMC forces eventually regrouped with Russian Loyalists forces outside of the Russian city of Volgograd and they located a convoy where Viktor was at. They ambushed the convoy, but Viktor got away and ran away.
He was eventually cornered on top of an apartment building and rather than surrender, he instead committed suicide, eliminating the only known lead to his father. Outraged by his son's death, Imran had launched two nuclear warheads from a facility captured by the Ultranationalists targeting the eastern United States and warned that all British and American forces were to leave Russia immediately or suffer the consequences.
Final Confrontation and Death
After the missiles were launched, the SAS and USMC Reconaissance Forces managed to locate the facility and self-destruct the missiles in mid-air, sparing 41 million American citizens from nuclear destruction. The task force was eventually forced to evacuate the silo and escape on a bridge which was later seen swarming with Ultranationalist forces which were chasing them with army vehicles and an Mi-24 attack helicopter. During the fight, the bridge was destroyed and the SAS-USMC forces were cut off and later gunned down one by one. Griggs was killed while trying to save Soap and Zakhaev himself entered the battlefield shooting and killing Gaz in the process. Before he could kill the rest of them however, a loyalist helicopter arrived and destroyed the Ultranationalist gunship and admist the chaos and distraction, Soap shot and killed Zakhaev along with his two guards.
Aftermath and Legacy
Despite Zakhaev's death, the Ultranationalists would go one to win the Second Russian Civil War and overthrew the pro-western government. The Russian Loyalists were sent into exile hiding out in India and Russia began rearming itself and preparing to restore its former glory. A power struggle had broken out in the Ultranationalist party between Boris Vorshevsky, the moderate faction leader and legitimate President of Russia, and Vladimir Makarov, leader of the extremist faction who later formed his own terrorist group known as the Inner Circle. Five years after his death in 2016, a statue of him was built and erected in Moscow calling him the "Hero of the New Russia" and an airport was even named after him, but it was the sight of a massacre and terrorist attack which would spark World War III between Russia and NATO. Five years later, the Ultranationalsits are popular and have gained sympathy from the Russian people.
Imran Zakhaev was a deeply patriotic and nationalistic person who held his home country of Russia in deeply high regard. The collapse of the Soviet Union had affected him on a deep and personal level to the point where he was motivated to start a movement dedicated to restoring Russian power and influence on the world stage back to the levels it was during the days of the Soviet Union. This lead him to eventually form the Ultranationalists and take power to restore Russia's former glory. He was opposed to the Russian Federation to the point of sparking a civil war and spreading it beyond Russia's borders and lead his followers to war.
Zakhaev was not hesitant to use lethal force against the people of Russia if it meant restoring the country's power as he and his followers had killed many civilians during the civil war and he even went as far as to allow the detonation of a nuclear warhead in the Middle East to kill thousands of American soldiers. His hatred for the west lead him to commit various atrocities and was only increased when his son had died motivating him to attempt to level the eastern United States with nuclear attacks as an act of retribution. Despite his crimes however, he would go down as a hero in the eyes of the Russian people and his dream would be fully realized five years after his death.
It is also implied that while Zakhaev was grateful to Makarov for saving his life on the day of his assassination attempt, he also kept him in check, possibly due to the fear of Makarov's extreme methods and ambitions, which later proved correct. This shows that while Zakhaev was still utterly ruthless, he still had his boundaries.
President Yasir Al-Fulani (Caused)
Paul Jackson (Caused)
30,000 United States Marine Corp soldiers (Caused)
Numerous Russian Loyalists (Caused and Direct)
Many Russian and Middle Eastern civilians (Caused and Indirect)
Numerous British SAS soldiers (Caused and Direct)
Imran Zakhaev in the original Modern Warfare game.
A photo of Zakhaev with both arms in the "All Ghillied Up" cutscene.
Zakhaev (in the middle) alongside the other Horsemen: his son Viktor, Al-Asad and Makarov.
Concept art of Imran Zakhaev from the 2016 remaster.