General Ourumov: From Patriotic Soldier to Iconic Villain
General Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov, the commanding force of Russia’s Space Division, occupies a prominent place as a corrupt General and henchman in the 1995 James Bond film, GoldenEye.
A stoic member of the Janus Syndicate, Ourumov’s portrayal by the late Gottfried John is reprised in the 1997 GoldenEye 007 video game, further establishing his antagonistic presence.
After graduating from the School of Applied Military Science in Kiev, Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov quickly gains promotion to Captain, and he finds himself assigned to a state-of-the-art Army Missile Test Range.
He’s quickly promoted to a Major and then after some time he steps into the role of Colonel, taking command at a Chemical Weapons Facility in Arkhangelsk. It’s during this time that he crosses paths with a resentful young man, Alec Trevelyan.
Trevelyan shares his past, his disdain for MI6, and his plans for the future, intentionally omitting certain crucial personal details. Trevelyan entices Ourumov with the promise of significant financial rewards and the title of the future “Iron Man Of Russia.” Enthusiastically, he aligns himself with Trevelyan’s cause.
The two conspire to reunite only when Alec Trevelyan and James Bond are scheduled to sabotage his base. However, the unfolding of events takes a different turn. Trevelyan purposely lets himself be captured by him and his men.
Bond, an observer to the drama, sees him shooting Trevelyan in the head. He comes close to capturing Bond, but 007 manages to escape just in time.
From General to Janus Crime Syndicate Member
The shooting is all a ruse, and what Bond doesn’t realize is that Alec is alive, with a severe scar marking the right side of his face. Adopting the moniker “Janus,” after the Roman deity with two faces, Alec transitions into an international terrorist.
In the meantime, Ourumov faces a court-martial for the demolition of the Arkangelsk chemical facility, a situation potentially ending in a death sentence. In a desperate bid to save himself, Ourumov pins the blame on a deceased subordinate, claiming a negligent handling of the chemical vats leading to the catastrophe.
This defense convinces the Soviet command, absolving Ourumov of the charges and restoring him to his position. Eventually, a promotion to General present itself, as well as a prestigious new assignment: commanding the Severnaya Space Facility in Siberia.
Additionally, General Ourumov is tasked with recruiting a new member for The Janus Crime Syndicate – Xenia Onatopp, a former Soviet fighter pilot.
Over the next nine years, the syndicate spreads terror across Russia without getting apprehended, their identities remain hidden, and Ourumov accrues more power, causing unease within the Russian Government.
Fast forward to 1995, General Ourumov wraps up the creation of their syndicate’s most powerful weapon: “GoldenEye.” Two satellite dishes for GoldenEye are installed, one in Siberia, and a concealed one in Cuba. Anyone harboring suspicions about Ourumov meets their end at Xenia Onatopp’s hands, or thighs.
The Syndicate initiates their plan by stealing the Tiger helicopter – a task Ourumov and Onatopp personally undertake, under Janus’s direct command not to fail. They succeed in hijacking it before Bond can intervene, reaching Siberia hours later to execute the second phase of their operation.
General Ourumov ensures they have the brightest computer programmer, Boris Grishenko, to manage the GoldenEye weapon. Upon reaching the satellite base, Ourumov instructs a subordinate to hand over the GoldenEye and required authorization codes for its test firing.
Upon receiving these, Onatopp guns down all base personnel. Together, they activate GoldenEye to strike Severnaya, eradicating any trace of their actions. However, one Severnaya employee, Natalya Simonova, in the lounge at the time, escapes the bloodbath, and is a witness.
Run ins with Bond
General Ourumov and Xenia Onatopp seize Boris and exit just before the detonation of the GoldenEye weapon. Later, after learning that Simonova is still alive, Orumov departs promptly, irritated with Onatopp’s failure to eliminate “everyone”.
He directs Boris and Xenia to find her. Ourumov then takes Simonova to Alec Trevelyan’s refuge, where she’s bound in the Tiger helicopter, awaiting her doom. Bond, discovering Trevelyan’s survival and his betrayal, also finds himself in the helicopter.
Bond and Natalya escape just before the heat-seeking missiles of the Tiger helicopter backfire, but Russian troops capture them shortly after and incarcerate them in a military intelligence archives cell.
When General Ourumov learns of Dimitri Mishkin holding Bond and Natalya captive, he storms into the cell where Mishkin is interrogating the pair. He engages in a heated argument with Mishkin, trying to convince him of Bond’s treachery.
When Mishkin, trusting Natalya’s account of Ourumov’s betrayal, calls for his arrest, Ourumov promptly kills Mishkin’s bodyguard and Mishkin himself using Bond’s weapon.
Crafting an improvised cover story, Ourumov orders the guards to kill Bond and Simonova, but Bond thrusts a chair into Ourumov’s legs, disarming him, and flinging him into a wall. Bond then overpowers two soldiers who enter the cell, arms himself, and escapes with Simonova.
As General Ourumov and his soldiers comb the archives, they manage to recapture Simonova, while Bond makes an escape. Ourumov, along with one of his men and Natalya Simonova, make their getaway onto the streets of St. Petersburg by car.
A relentless Bond, takes control of a tank, and tears through a wall to chase them, leaving a trail of wreckage through the streets of St. Petersburg behind. Eventually, Ourumov reaches Trevelyan’s Soviet Missile Train.
After boarding the train with Natalya, Ourumov informs Alec about Bond’s escape. Later, Bond, employing the hijacked tank, parks on the tracks to derail the train.
He boards the crippled train and confronts Trevelyan and Xenia at gunpoint. When Ourumov enters the scene, holding Simonova hostage at gunpoint, Bond reveals Alec’s Lienz Cossack identity, shocking Ourumov.
Alec Trevelyan pacifies the situation, assuring Ourumov of the wealth and power imminent in his future. Alec signals Ourumov to kill Simonova, intending to divert Bond’s attention while he and Onatopp make their getaway, effectively making Ourumov a sacrificial pawn.
But the General’s slow reaction results in his demise by Bond’s Kalashnikov, marking the end of the “Iron Man Of Russia”. His remains are incinerated when Trevelyan’s missile train explodes.
Gottfried John, born in 1942, was a renowned German actor known for his stage, screen, and voice roles. Evacuated to East Prussia during World War II, John was raised by his single mother, living in various protectories before returning to his mother in Paris at 15.
He worked as a pavement artist and construction worker in Paris before moving to Berlin in 1960 to start his acting career. John’s initial roles were uncredited, but he gained fame through his performances in Jaider, der einsame Jäger (1971), Carlos (1971), and the James Bond film GoldenEye (1995).
He also starred in the mini-series Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) and films like Aghet – Ein Völkermord (2010), Life Is Too Long (2010), Die Löwin (2012), Liebe und Tod auf Java (2013), and Ruby Red (2013).