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Popov is the secondary antagonist of the 1998 film Air Bud: Golden Receiver. He is a Russian animal poacher who is Natalya's assistant and plans to have Buddy as their main attractive.

He was portrayed by Perry Anzilotti.

Role

While Natalya is testing her performance on a parrot, Popov brings home a stolen chimpanzee named Mortimer. Natalya berates him for interrupting her performance and Popov tries to show the chimp's stunts by rollerskating, but he hits Natalya on the head instead. Popov wants to go back to Russia, but Natalya exclaims that she needs more animals for their circus. As they watch Buddy's basketball performance on TV, they plan to steal him and have him as the perfect attraction.

As they drive in their ice cream truck, they encounter Josh and Buddy. The pair resume their drive until Natalya recognizes Buddy and they head after them. As they plan to catch him in their net, Josh kicks the football hard, hitting Popov in the head and causing them to tumble down a hill and into a pond.

Later, they drive into the Framms' driveway and plan to capture Buddy in their backyard. However, Buddy has heard them and escapes from Josh's room. As the pair get distracted by a group of kids, Buddy escapes them and a chase is ensued. Buddy leads them to a backyard and they are beaten by an old lady, allowing Buddy to escape.

As Josh runs away from his home, Natalya and Popov successfully manage to capture Buddy. As Josh returns, he finds Buddy gone and heads out to find him, but is eventually forced to give up.

As Natalya leaves, she puts Popov in charge of the animals and orders him to not touch anything. Buddy knocks over his cage, freeing Mortimer and allowing him to free Buddy in return. As they free the other animals, they confront Popov. Natalya arrives at the scene and gets sprayed by a skunk, causing her to fall onto a seesaw. The catapult launches the ball and it hits Popov, causing him to fall onto a porcupine's quills and scream in pain. As he gets the quills off, Buddy activates a crane that pulls Popov up with it. Natalya proceeds to hit Popov until the crane lets him go and knocks him unconscious.

As Popov is woken up by Natalya, Mortimer activates a can full of fish guts to pour onto the pair. Mortimer drives their truck and crashes it into an electrical tower, sending it to fall down onto a box of fireworks and lighting them. A chase is ensued between Buddy and the pair and Buddy leads them to a dock. The pair try to stop, but the brakes don't work. Patrick pulls Buddy out of the way and the truck crashes, sending them flying into a fishing net. The police arrive and the pair beg them to get them back to the Russian Embassy.

Trivia

  • Both the actors who played Popov and Natalya are both born in Chicago.

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            Air Bud logo Villains

Air Bud
Air Bud: Norman Snively | Coach Barker
Golden Receiver: Natalya | Popov
World Pup: Snerbert | Webster
Seventh Inning Fetch: Professor Siles | Carlton | Rocky Raccoon
Spikes Back: Doug and Gordon

Air Buddies
Air Buddies: Selkirk Tander | Grim & Denning
Snow Buddies: Jean George
Space Buddies: Dr. Finkel
Santa Buddies: Stan Cruge
Spooky Buddies: Warwick | Halloween Hound
Treasure Buddies: Ubasti | Phillip Wellington
Super Buddies: Drex

Other
Santa Paws: Ms. Stout
Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups: Jeb Gibson

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