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Vladimir Aleksandrovich Zadornov,[1] also known as Ramón Gálvez Mena, was a KGB intelligence operative who secretly assisted in the development of the Peace Walker Project. His first name, Vladimir, has the modern interpretation of "Ruler of Peace" or "Ruler of the World" in Russian.


Early life and career

At some point in his life, Vladimir Zadornov lost his right hand during a KGB mission. Afterwards, he was awarded both a medal from the Security-General of the Soviet Union and an advanced prosthetic hand that had the ability to produce a flame so he could light cigars or cigarettes. However, he had to quit smoking after it ruined his lungs, barely having a use for it. Sometime later, Zadornov departed for Costa Rica on a KGB mission to conquer Costa Rica so that the Cold War would end with the Soviets winning. Zadornov later assumed the identity of professor "Ramón Gálvez Mena" of the yet-to-be-sanctioned University for Peace who had been teaching about peace at multiple university systems since the 1950s,[2] and had fought repeatedly to have the university officially sanctioned.

Peace Walker Incident

Main article: Peace Walker Incident

In November 1974, "Professor Gálvez" and his 'student' Paz Ortega Andrade traveled to Colombia to meet with the Militaires Sans Frontières. He explained to them that a security company had arrived in Costa Rica and was engaging in suspicious activities. When Big Boss (Naked Snake) asked if they were rebels who had fled from Nicaragua, Gálvez stated that they weren't as the force was far too organized to be a guerilla group. He explained that the force claimed that they were an international security assessing company hired by the Costa Rican government, but he stated that they couldn't be that, as they were shipping in tons of the latest equipment by the shipload. He feared that the CIA was responsible.

Gálvez asked the Militaires Sans Frontières to help remove the invasion force from Costa Rica, offering them an offshore production facility in the Caribbean sea as a forwarding base in exchange for their help (as well as a chopper for transport). While Kazuhira "Kaz" Miller seemed willing to go with the offer, Snake was reluctant to participate, as he didn't want his unit to become a pack of "Dogs of War" and told Gálvez that force was most likely not going to do any good, so he might need to do a diplomatic solution. Snake even suggested to him that he would tell the Costa Rican government that he could offer a negotiator that he knew to help them settle the dispute. Gálvez revealed that he never came on the Government's orders, and then explained about Paz's capture by the same force after she stumbled upon their supply port. He eventually got Snake to agree to partake in the mission by stating that he knew Snake's true identity as Big Boss.

Gálvez makes the "Peace" gesture with his prosthetic hand.

After some discussion, Big Boss and Miller realized that Gálvez was actually a KGB agent, and that allying with him would actually result in their making enemies with America. When talking it over, Gálvez explained that the Russians were interested in Costa Rica due to its strategic value, which could be used to conquer Central America, and thus split America into two. It would also disrupt all economic productions and shipping lanes towards America. For the Soviets, it would mean gaining a base from which all of Latin America would be in their grasp, starting with Nicaragua.

However, Gálvez's reason for hiring the MSF was not to aid them in taking out the CIA's stronghold in Costa Rica: other than disrupting the Soviet's efforts to help the Sandinistas transform Nicaragua into a socialist state, the CIA were planning something else in the region. He wanted the MSF to investigate the facility in which Paz was imprisoned, explaining that her being captured was true, and he apparently had hidden his affiliation with the KGB from her.

Gálvez then showed them a cassette tape that Paz's friend had recorded accidentally while bird watching, who had also been captured during their escape from the facility. Playing back the tape, the recording featured The Boss's voice. Gálvez considered burning the tape if Big Boss wasn't going to accept the mission, but Big Boss decided to do it after the shock of hearing his former mentor's voice. Gálvez then spent the remainder of the mission secretly observing Big Boss and his unit's progression, and also allowed Paz, who he had hidden at a school in Ciudad Colon, use a radio in his office to maintain contact with MSF.

Professor Gálvez, a.k.a. Vladimir Zadornov.

After Paz was captured by CIA Station Chief Hot Coldman, leader of Peace Sentinel, Big Boss and Kaz speculated that Gálvez may have been killed due to Coldman deducing the KGB's involvement in MSF's hiring.[3]

In reality, Vladimir Zadornov had allied himself with Coldman by providing the money and technology while Coldman provided the land. But he feigned cooperation so that as Coldman was busy making preparations for Peace Walker's only launch, he had his Russian mercenaries covertly seize the U.S. missile base in Nicaragua. Zadornov turned on Coldman just as he was preparing to input false data into Peace Walker's AI, placing the MSF's Mother Base at a retaliatory launch trajectory. He then decided to change Peace Walker's target to Cuba; the launch from the U.S. missile base at one of the Soviet Union's biggest allies, would cause anti-American sentiment to spread globally, thus allowing the Soviets to win the Cold War.

Zadornov then tried to have Paz kill Coldman with his gun, referring to what he did to her on the base near the coast. However, despite her anger towards him for what he did, she simply could not commit the murder. Instead, he shot Coldman, although he deliberately missed shooting him in the head so that he could acquire the access code from him, as he couldn't input the launch code if Coldman died. Gálvez then contacted Strangelove telling her to change the false data targeting system to Cuba, and threatened that he would kill her as well as her "beloved" if she didn't comply. He then explained to Big Boss the true reason why he hired the MSF: he planned to manipulate Big Boss to do all the work in helping the FSLN in their revolution so that Coldman would end up launching Peace Walker, allowing him easy access to it without dirtying his hands as an intelligence officer. He then planned to kill Big Boss, both because his usefulness had came to an end, and so he could create a new Che Guevara-type figure for various revolutionaries to emulate. While preparing to do so, he remarked that, like The Boss before him, Big Boss was nothing more than a fraud.

However, the FSLN group led by Amanda Valenciano Libre ended up overtaking their former KGB allies. This saved Big Boss, and Zadornov was placed under arrest by the MSF. When Coldman decided to activate Peace Walker on his deathbed, Zadornov expressed shock.

After Coldman's death and Peace Walker AI's "self destruction", Zadornov was placed in a cell onboard Mother Base, as well as planted with a tracking device. In addition, because his KGB affiliations were exposed to the Costa Rican government as a result of the MSF's mission, his funding for Paz's stay at her high school stopped, thus resulting in her leaving the school. However, Zadornov managed to escape after cutting a hole in his cell door with his prosthetic hand,[4] although he didn't get very far before being recovered by the MSF, to which they removed the red hand as well as increased security around his cell and did a full body check to ensure he didn't escape.[5]

Zadornov prepares to shoot Big Boss after escaping confinement on Mother Base.

Despite this, he still managed to escape from his cell on several more occasions thanks to Paz, and served as a distraction for the MSF while Paz made modifications in order to gain control of the nuclear-armed Metal Gear ZEKE. Miller thought about having Zadornov join MSF so they could bolster the morale of their Russian soldiers, but his frequent escapes, as well as Big Boss's deduction that maybe he didn't want to be recruited, caused Miller to reconsider that plan.[6]

During his last escape attempt, in which he also located and removed the transmitter so he wouldn't be found, Zadornov waited at the shooting gallery for Big Boss. When Big Boss went up to the second floor, Zadornov attempted to gun Big Boss down, forcing Big Boss to shoot the KGB spy out of self-defense. Zadornov cryptically remarked that his "job here is done" then made a last ditch effort to kill Big Boss by launching his prosthetic arm (posed in a Peace/V for Victory sign) at Big Boss, only for it to impact harmlessly against the railing. Zadornov then died.

After death

Following ZEKE's destruction, Big Boss retrieved Vladimir Zadornov's prosthetic hand to use as a cigar lighter.

Personality and traits

In his guise as Gálvez, Zadornov revealed that he enjoyed drinking Costa Rican coffee, believing there was "nothing like it."

Zadornov was a former heavy smoker, which was the main reason why his prosthetic hand came equipped with a lighter device. However, he later quit smoking due to it ruining his lungs, which consequentially resulted in his having little use for his prosthetic hand.

Zadornov, as expected of an intelligence officer, is perfectly willing to use people to accomplish his goals, and throw their lives away when he felt their usefulness was fulfilled. This trait was especially evident by his attempted execution of Big Boss shortly after revealing his true motives. Likewise, he is also perfectly willing to betray his allies to have his goals accomplished, as evidenced by his actions towards Hot Coldman. His views on peoples lives being thrown away when their usefulness is outlived was also extended to include himself, as evidenced by his remark upon being shot in self-defense by Big Boss that his job was finished. He was also shown to have some sadism, as evidenced by his smirk when forcing Paz to shoot Coldman in the chest twice, and his joking afterwards that a "dead hand" was fitting to do the deed instead of her.

Zadornov also held little respect for The Boss, presumably either due to her official stance as a war criminal and defector from the United States or due to knowledge of her true mission. This was especially evident when he attempted to kill Big Boss as a means to instigate more rebellions in Central America a'la Che Guevara and due to otherwise outliving his usefulness, where he told Big Boss that he'll die just as The Boss did, as "an eternal fraud."

Because of his intelligence work in Central America, Zadornov utilized some Spanish lingo when conversing with people, such as "El Che" or "La Cia."

He played the Theremin with sufficient skill to keep up with Kazuhira Miller accompanying him on a guitar. He correctly identified the instrument as being of Soviet origin, excusing his proficiency with it by stating that music has no borders.[7]

Prosthetic hand

Zadornov possessed a mechanical right hand like Doctor Julius No in the James Bond film Dr. No. Although Big Boss joked that he had deduced Zadornov's true affiliations from his "stench," he admitted that it was because the prosthesis was "fit for an assassin," and would not have been worn by a Professor of Peace.[8] Upon closer inspection, the hand actually bore the letters "CCCP" (Союз Советских Социалистических Республик), which is the Russian equivalent of U.S.S.R. Besides its use as a lighter, his prosthetic hand could also operate as a blowtorch with a flame powerful enough to cut through iron, as well as a makeshift rocket, the latter presumably as a means of last resort due to the circumstances in which he attempted to use it on Big Boss.

Behind the scenes

Vladimir Zadornov serves as the secondary antagonist of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. When the game was unveiled at TGS 2009, Hideo Kojima commented that Gálvez's right hand was intended to resemble something from a James Bond film. He also hinted that Zadornov's meeting with Militaires Sans Frontières at the beginning of the game was meant to reference the classic Japanese film Seven Samurai.[9]

Due to his assistance of Cipher agent Pacifica Ocean in ZEKE's hijacking, as well as Paz's reference to Cipher as "our leaders,"[10] it was speculated by some that Zadornov was also working directly for the organization. However, the game did not detail the characters' relationship to one another, beyond their common affiliation with the KGB. One of Paz's report tapes in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes summarizing the plot of Peace Walker confirmed that Zadornov was not working directly for Cipher, as she refers to Zadornov in a manner that indicated that he was only affiliated with the KGB and a pawn of Cipher.[11]

When forcing Paz to shoot Coldman twice in the chest, he jokes on how it was fitting that a "dead hand" deliver the killing blow to Coldman, which is a reference to the nuclear-control system used by the Soviet Union in the event of a nuclear strike against the United States.

Vladimir Zadornov

Zadornov's English voice actor, Steven Blum, also provided the voice of Gene in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Coincidentally, his partner Paz Ortega Andrade is voiced by Tara Strong. Previously, she provided the voice of an accomplice of Gene's. Vladimir Zadornov and Kazuhira Miller share the same motion capture actor, Takashi Kubo.

Zadornov is the second person in the Metal Gear series, after Ocelot, to refer to Big Boss by his real name, "John." Similarly, both Zadornov and Ocelot worked for the KGB and are of Russian descent.

Design sketches contained in the promotional Peace Walker art book, as well as the Official Art Works, showed that he smoked cigarettes, and that his prosthetic hand, in addition to its abilities as a lighter as well as a rocket launcher, also was able to shoot bullets. This latter aspect was presumably not implemented in the final version, as he was shown to utilize the Makarov firearm. According to storyboard sketches included in the Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker Official Arts book, Zadornov would have killed Hot Coldman by shooting Coldman in the head, and at some point when the MSF arrive, he himself would have been executed by Paz in a similar manner, prior to her hijacking ZEKE. Also, in addition to the aforementioned concept character artwork of Zadornov, the Official Art Works also included some more concept artwork of what he would have looked like, including a design where he possessed glasses, and a design giving him a similar appearance to Indiana Jones. There was also one concept artwork where, although he overall looked similar to his final design, he possessed an actual right arm rather than a bionic one.

Zadornov is one of only four main characters from Peace Walker to not be included as an officer in the Mother Base development game on the Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes companion app (the others being Chico, Paz, and Coldman).


"I am Vladimir Zadornov. And Vladimir is Russian for "ruler of peace.""
―Zadornov's quote on his staff menu on the Mother Base menu.

Although Zadornov was never actually recruited into MSF, and thus not usable on Mother Base, his stats were included in his profile. In addition, he is also the only Brig character to retain his character quote (The other soldiers, should they be placed in the brig, have "[...]" in the dialogue box). These stats, however, will be permanently removed upon completion of Chapter 5, owing to his demise shortly before the fight with Paz.

Also, despite his demise at the end of Chapter 5, the Zadornov search missions (exempting the variation of Extra Ops 001) can still be played.

If the player kills Zadornov in any of the Zadornov capture missions, even the one in Extra Ops 001, it will instantly result in a mission failure.

Zadornov is seen wearing a trench coat in the Zadornov capture missions even though he was not wearing it when he was captured.

Other appearances

Aside from Paz's diary tapes, he was referenced twice in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. The first mention was in Paz's mission logs, which also revealed that Zadornov was not actually aligned with Cipher. The second mention was in the Side Op Eliminate the Renegade Threat, where Miller, when briefing Big Boss on their mission, pointed out that the KGB contacts who hired him had nothing to do with Zadornov or his actions beyond affiliation to the same organization.[12]

In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, when Paz, or rather, a hallucination of her, is first seen, Zadornov's photo is seen on a textbook she is reading, named "ABOLICION DEL EJERCITO Y NEUTRALIDAD DE COSTA RICA Y LA ORGANIZACION DE LOS ESTADOS AMERICANOS" (Spanish, literally translates to "ABOLITION OF THE ARMY AND NEUTRALITY OF COSTA RICA AND THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES"). The player can also pick up the book for her when she accidentally dropped it in an optional scene, provided the player has no new memento photos to give her. She also mentions Zadornov regarding Peace Day when showing her one of the memento photos.



Notes and references

  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
    Zadornov's middle name of "Aleksandrovich" is given in his Mother Base profile, after he is placed into the brig.
  2. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010)
    Gálvez: For over twenty years, I've preached the virtues peace at multiple Universities. Tonight, I stand before you [Big Boss/MSF] as an educator.
    The date at the time he said this was November 4th, 1974.
  3. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
    Miller: Paz was with the "professor", i.e., the KGB. Once Coldman discovered that, he figured out what was really going on between Paz and Gálvez. // Big Boss: He's trying to figure out how the KGB plan to stop Peace Walker, and he thinks he can get the info from Paz. // Miller: That's crazy! Paz won't know anything. // Big Boss: Yeah, well, he probably doesn't buy that. // Miller: ...You think Gálvez has already been killed? By grabbing Paz, Coldman's saying... // Big Boss: "Stay out of this, or lose your client."
  4. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
    Kazuhira Miller: Snake, we've got a problem. Zadornov's not in his cell. // Big Boss: What?! // Kazuhira Miller: He must have used his prosthetic as a blowtorch to cut through the bars. But we've managed to narrow down his location using a transmitter we planted on him.
  5. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010)
    Kazuhira Miller: Bad news, Snake. Zadornov's on the loose. // Naked Snake (Big Boss): What, again?! // Miller: It's funny. We took away his prosthetic and did a full body check. We even increased the guard. // Snake: Think he had help? // Miller: Impossible. Anyway, I'm adding a new mission. Locate and recover Zadornov!
  6. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
    Big Boss: You know, it might not be worth keeping him [Zadornov] here. If he's not going to join us... // Kazuhira Miller: You may be right. I thought it might boost our Russian compatriots' morale, but... OK. I'll think it over.
  7. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Kojima Productions (2015) "Paz's Diary (Continued) [2}" Entry 2
  8. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
    Briefing Files > Briefing Library > Paz > Costa Rica > University for Peace > Professor Gálvez
  9. ^
  10. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
    Miller (radio) Then... Zadornov's escape... was a diversion! // Snake: Paz, what are you doing...?! // Paz: I'm taking it [ZEKE] back. // Miller (radio): Taking it back? Where?! // Paz: To our leaders, to Cipher!
  11. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014).
    Paz: With East and West fighting over its control, Central America is now the most contested region on earth. CIA Central American Station Chief Coldman has developed Peace Walker, a fully AI-automated, fail-deadly nuclear launch system with which he aims to reignite the Cold War. Snake's new objective in Costa Rica is to prevent that. Zadornov's... or should I say, the KGB's plan is to play the two sides against each other, turning the entire region Red. Not one of the three parties realize they are all just pawns in Cipher's hands. Cipher watches all.
  12. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014).
    Kazuhira Miller: This job... The clients are KGB contacts from my Colombia days... don't worry, they had nothing to do with Zadornov.