Boris Grishenko: Master Hacker Turned Traitor
Boris Ivanovich Grishenko, a Russian computer technician at the GoldenEye control center in Severnaya, Siberia, is a character from the 1995 James Bond film, GoldenEye.
Portrayed by Scottish actor Alan Cumming, Grishenko isn’t the most popular worker, and he turns on his employers and colleagues to help villain Alec Trevelyan. Boris Grishenko also appears in John Gardner’s novelization and the 1997 video game adaptation.
Boris Grishenko operates from the Severnaya observatory in Siberia, where he keeps track of two weaponry satellites, Petya and Mischa. We first see him at work helping his coworker, Natalya Simonova, with a rather inappropriate female password for a software program, causing annoyance and disdain to another coworker, Anna Nishkov.
Boris tells his colleagues he’s going for a cigarette break, but he mysteriously vanishes. In reality, he slips away to join forces with General Ourumov and Xenia Onatopp, under the leadership of Alec Trevelyan of Janus, to hijack the GoldenEye satellite.
This alliance leads to a massacre at Severnaya, followed by the activation of a satellite that targets Severnaya for a test of electromagnetic warfare. The attack devastates the facility, prompting a nearby Russian airbase to send fighter jets. The electromagnetic pulse takes out the pilots too, resulting in a crash into the satellite dish.
Miraculously, Natalya survives the onslaught, seeking shelter in a radiation and debris-protected cupboard. Unaware of Boris Grishenko’s treachery, she calls out for him, believing he’s nearby.
The narrative spun to Russian Defense Minister Dmitri Mishkin by Ourumov paints Boris as a lucky survivor. Natalya, likewise under the impression that Boris had narrowly escaped death, attempts to contact him via email. Lured to a nearby church under the promise of a reunion, Natalya is captured by Xenia Onatopp.
After rescuing Natalya and killing Ourumov, James Bond relies on Natalya’s hacking skills to locate Alec’s base via Boris’s network. Despite Boris’s efforts to shut down his servers, Natalya pinpoints the base’s location in Cuba.
At the base, Alec Trevelyan orders Boris Grishenko to surface the base from a lake, despite his hesitation. Once the base is above water, Boris receives the GoldenEye master control key from Trevelyan, who ominously warns him it had better function properly.
Amidst Boris’s final preparations, Trevelyan is alerted to Bond and Natalya’s infiltration and orders his men to intercept them. Boris pretends to be thrilled to see Natalya again, but she slaps him and berates him for his betrayal and the potential deaths of millions.
Alec Trevelyan intervenes as Boris Grishenko is about to strike Natalya, instructing him to return to his computer and confirm whether Natalya has tampered with anything. Boris, overly confident, dismisses the idea that Natalya could have outsmarted him.
However, his arrogance is short-lived when an alarm signals that GoldenEye is on a collision course with Earth’s atmosphere, threatening to ignite and explode in twelve minutes.
As Boris attempts to regain control, he unknowingly fiddles with Bond’s explosive pen. Seeing his chance, Bond knocks the pen out of Boris’s hand, triggering an explosion that devastates most of the control room.
Boris eventually regains access to the system and resets the antenna, but Bond manages to disable the mechanism, leading to a massive explosion that destroys the remaining base and kills Trevelyan.
Incredibly, Boris emerges from the wreckage, declaring himself invincible, only to be immediately encased in liquid nitrogen as the canisters behind him explode, freezing him to death.
Alan Cumming is a renowned Scottish actor, born on January 27, 1965. Despite a difficult childhood, Cumming has established a prolific career in TV, film, and theatre since his debut in ITV Granada’s Travelling Man in 1984.
On television, Cumming has featured in several series, including notable roles in BBC comedy Bernard and the Genie, The High Life, The Runaway, and Doctor Who. He also created documentaries such as My Brilliant Britain and The Real Cabaret and starred alongside Miriam Margolyes in Miriam and Alan: Lost in Scotland.
Cumming’s film career launched with short film Passing Glory and his feature film debut in Prague. His notable performances include roles in the James Bond film GoldenEye, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, and Eyes Wide Shut. He co-created and starred in The Anniversary Party, and was featured as an avatar in the 2022 documentary My Old School.
On stage, Cumming received an Olivier Award nomination for his role in Conquest of the South Pole and won the award for his performance in Accidental Death of an Anarchist. He’s known for his Tony Award-winning portrayal of The Master of Ceremonies in the revival of Cabaret and his performances in Bent and The Bacchae. Cumming continues to actively contribute to stage, film, and television.