- "Hail HYDRA."
- ―Vasily Karpov's last words
Colonel Vasily Karpov was a HYDRA operative embedded inside the Russian Armed Forces who was given the responsibility for overseeing the Winter Soldier Program, successfully arranging the assassination of Howard Stark and the deployment of the newly created Winter Soldiers. Decades after leaving the organisation, Karpov was found and tortured by Helmut Zemo for information, but Karpov still refused to betray HYDRA for Zemo.
Handling the Winter Soldier
In 1991, while working for HYDRA, Colonel Karpov revived Sergeant James Barnes from a cryogenic sleep at the HYDRA Siberian Facility and activated Barnes using a set of conditioned trigger words. Barnes was then dispatched to intercept an automobile carrying a case of Super Soldier Serum, and assassinate its occupants.
Creation of the Winter Soldiers
Succeeding in acquiring the Super Soldier Serum, Karpov oversaw the creation of the Winter Soldiers, an elite group of five HYDRA assassins infused with the serum. However, the Winter Soldiers, except for Barnes, lost control and started a riot, resulting in all of them being put under deep sleep in Cryostasis Chambers.
Questioned by Zemo
- "What do you want?"
"Mission report. December 16th, 1991."
"Go to hell!"
- ―Vasily Karpov and Helmut Zemo
Twenty-five years later, the former Sokovian special forces Colonel Helmut Zemo arrived at Karpov's house in Cleveland, Ohio in the United States of America. There, Zemo partially submerged Karpov's head in a sink filling with tap water to extract the 1991 mission report from him. However, Karpov refused to talk, so Zemo took the book with the trigger words to operate Barnes and abandoned him. Heavily restrained and unable to lift his head from the water, Karpov spoke the HYDRA oath before drowning in the overflowing sink.
- Helmut Zemo - Killer
- In the comics, Vasily Karpov is a ruthless but efficient Soviet officer involved in a joint operation with Captain America and the Invaders during World War II, in which he helped foil a plot of Red Skull and Master Man. He was also partly reponsible for the creation of the Winter Soldier.