General Gogol‘s (WALTER GOTELL) replacement as the head of the Soviet KGB, portrayed masterfully by character actor John Rhys-Davies, in The Living Daylights. Actually, Pushkin finds himself snared in a drug-smuggling plot hatched by arms dealer Brad Whitaker (JOE DON BAKER) and renegade Russian General Georgi Koskov (JEROEN KRABBÉ). Pushkin knows Whitaker because he’s given him a $50 million advance for a huge shipment of new-age weapons to be used against Mujahedeen rebels in Afghanistan.
Pushkin later arrives in Tangier to kill the deal when he suspects that Whitaker is involved with Koskov. Whitaker must return the money in two days, or he will be put out of business permanently.
When Koskov defects to the West with the help of James Bond (TIMOTHY DALTON), Pushkin arrests his girlfriend, Kara Milovy (MARYAM D’ABO), who claims she doesn’t know anything about his whereabouts. When Koskov is recaptured by the KGB, Pushkin is even more suspicious, since he didn’t order the mission.
During his short stay at the Bladen safe house in England, Koskov fingers Pushkin as the mastermind of “Smiert Spionam,” a Soviet assault on the British Secret Service that has already begun with the death of 004 (FREDERICK WARDER) on Gibraltar. Believing Koskov, M (ROBERT BROWN) then orders Bond to assassinate Pushkin in Tangier, where the Russian is heading a trade delegation.
Equally suspicious of Koskov, Bond doesn’t kill Pushkin but instead teams up with him in a counterplot to expose the operation being planned by Koskov and Whitaker. Bond’s sniper attack is faked to make everyone, including Koskov, believe that Pushkin is out of the way.
Since Pushkin is the only one who suspects that Koskov wasn’t recaptured by the KGB, Koskov now feels free to go to Afghanistan as a Soviet general and trade the $50 million arms advance—now converted into diamonds—for a huge opium cache. Bond foils that operation and returns to Tangier to kill Whitaker. Pushkin then arrests Koskov for numerous crimes against the state. He’s to be shipped back to Mother Russia in the diplomatic bag.