Victor Zokas aka Renard: A Portrait of Ruthlessness
Victor Zokas, often referred to as Renard, is a global terrorist, known for his alliance with wealthy heiress Elektra King in a plot to control the international oil market for their own financial gain. He stands out as one of the main villains in the 1999 James Bond movie, The World Is Not Enough.
The character, brought to life by the renowned Scottish actor Robert Carlyle, is also present in the Raymond Benson novel that complements the film. As well as this, he continues to surface in several video games, such as being a key character in James Bond 007: Nightfire.
Born in Moscow, Victor Zokas, later known as Renard, is the child of a Russian bar worker and a Bosniak father, who he never met. His upbringing was riddled with adversity. He was raised in scarcity, sufferd frequent abuse from his alcoholic mother, and endured continual mockery from his three half-sisters.
At the tender age of fourteen, Zokas fled his home and soon found himself enlisted in the Soviet Army. Before long, his ferocious nature made him infamous among his comrades. His superiors took note of his brutal methods, concluding that he was better suited for the KGB.
As the Cold War entered its later stages, Zokas served as a hitman, further escalating his reputation among those he came across. It was during this period that he earned the moniker of “Renard the Fox,” a nod to his wily and unobtrusive approach.
However, shortly before the Soviet Union’s collapse, his increasingly unstable mental state resulted in his expulsion from the KGB following the Afghan conflict. Subsequently, Zokas fully assumed his “Renard” persona and rose to become one of the most feared terrorists worldwide.
Throughout the early 1990s, Renard worked as a freelance hitman, serving a variety of anti-capitalist entities. Having accrued enough resources to sustain his ambitions, Renard later established his own terrorist faction consisting solely of devoted anarchists.
MI6 documents revealed that during this period, Renard was spotted in multiple global hotspots, including his native Russia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Cambodia, and North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang.
Kidnapping Elektra King
In 1998, Renard set his sights on Elektra King, internationally known for her high-profile socialite lifestyle. Secretly captivated by Elektra’s allure, Renard yearns to meet her.
In a nefarious plot to kidnap Elektra for ransom, Renard and his henchmen abducted her in Cyprus. Overwhelmed, Elektra’s father, Sir Robert King, seeked help from MI6. Agent 009 was promptly sent to find Renard, liberate Elektra, and kill the terrorist.
Though Elektra ingeniously evades Renard’s grasp before 009 found them, the agent tracked Renard down in Syria a week later, and shot him in the head. A surgeon managed to save Renard’s life, but told him the bullet will continues its slow path through his brain, and when it reaches his central cortex it will kill him.
Renard killed the doctor for not removing the bullet, but it wasn’t all bad because until it kills him it will gradually numb his sense of touch, smell, and pain, enabling him to surpass the normal human thresholds of endurance.
Teaming up with Elektra King
Throughout her abduction ordeal, Elektra King was able to earn Renard’s trust and afterwards she became his partner and love interest. After learning that the very bullet lending him exceptional abilities is also a ticking time bomb, Renard set one final objective for himself: he promised to help Elektra in avenging her father and seizing his oil empire.
In exchange, Elektra pledged to help Renard in seeking retribution against the woman who signed his death warrant, M, a close confidante of Sir Robert King.
In 1999, in the wake of Sir Robert’s death via a money bomb, MI6 suspects Renard, compelling a remorseful M to dispatch James Bond 007, to safeguard Elektra, who they anticipate to be Renard’s next target.
As Bond investigates, he first confronts Renard at a nuclear arms facility in Kazakhstan. Following a high-stakes face-off, Renard employs his own bomb to make an escape with six kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium, almost killing Bond and Dr. Christmas Jones, before reuniting with Elektra in Istanbul.
In return, Elektra furnishes Renard with a Victor III-class nuclear submarine. With both critical components secured, the sinister plan of Renard and Elektra is nearing its completion.
Their plot involves injecting the plutonium into the submarine’s reactor, consequently triggering a nuclear explosion in the Bosphorus waters that would effectively incapacitate the shipping routes of Elektra’s rivals.
One evening, Renard confesses to Elektra his discontentment with his lack of sensation, his inability to make love to her as he would wish to, and his faint recollection of the sensation of pleasure. This indication signals that Renard’s remaining time is dwindling, and so he decides to personally supervise the plan.
Ultimately, this works to his advantage: the scheme to devastate the Bosphorus not only serves as a final tribute to the woman he adores but also provides him with the gratification of orchestrating the ultimate act of pandemonium—eradicating eight million lives and then destabilizing the global oil economy in a single stroke.
The following morning, Renard utters a heartfelt farewell to Elektra and boards the submarine that will ferry him towards his impending doom. On the vessel, the plutonium undergoes a transformation into a reactor rod that Renard intends to insert into the submarine’s reactor core.
What he doesn’t realize, however, is that Bond has secretly infiltrated the submarine. A gunfight ensues between007 and Renard’s minions, which results in the submarine plummeting onto the ocean bed and consequently damaging its hull.
Despite the chaos, Renard locks himself within the reactor, ready to carry out his mission. Bond attempts to disrupt Renard’s plan further by engaging him in a fight. Upon learning of Elektra’s death from Bond, an irate Renard starts to strike Bond and traps him beneath the reactor.
Rejecting Bond’s words as lies, Renard insists on proceeding with the mission. As he commences inserting the Plutonium Rod into the reactor, Bond swiftly reacts, connecting a detached pressurized air-hose to the reactor.
Facing Renard, Bond declares that Elektra is “waiting for him” in the afterlife, before launching the rod with full force into Renard’s heart, killing him on the spot.
Born in Glasgow in 1961, Robert Carlyle OBE left school at 16 and pursued drama through night classes. He gained his first TV and film roles in 1990, with his breakout role coming in 1994 on the show Cracker.
His international fame rose with roles in Trainspotting and The Full Monty, for which he won a BAFTA in 1997. Carlyle played Bond villain Renard in 1999 and has portrayed a range of characters from Adolf Hitler in the 2003 miniseries Hitler: The Rise of Evil, to Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold in Once Upon a Time.
Recognized for his contributions to drama, Robert Carlyle was appointed an OBE in 2009.