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Oleg: Beating America at its Own Game

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I had zero expectations for Oleg when he was introduced and in just a few episodes Costa Ronin turned him into such an interesting character. Smug and vulnerable and comes across as very intelligent and savvy.

 

I want him to explain the Internet to me instead of that awkward scene we got in the Arpanet episode.

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One of the coolest characters on the show.  Kind of a hipster, forward-looking spy with a soft spot, who is hard-as-nails ruthless towards his enemies. Gotta believe he has schemes in motion to help or save Nina. 

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Okay, now that I'm all caught up on season two, Poor Oleg! I think he has genuine feelings for Nina. Hopefully he can pull some strings with his connections and help her out!

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Oleg is one of my favorite characters on this show. I also love his clothes. I think he wins best dressed. I can't wait to see what happens to him.

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Poor Oleg, he is so very pretty, and wears suits so well, and is, in some ways, more open to America than other Soviets, including Philip.  He's screwed now, but his role may expand since the CIA will be running him, and I think it's likely that he doubles back for the Soviets, although, perhaps after seeing what happened to Nina, he will rule that out?

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I just love watching him dealing with the fallout of his best intentions. He wanted to be like the guy who didn't start WWIII and thought he was doing the right thing (I think he was doing the right thing) and thought he could then just run back, sacrifice his job in the US and that would be the end of the story. Now he realizes he's trapped and compromised even when he's poised to do good work for his country. Loved when the CIA just casually brought up his family as a bargaining chip.

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I REALLY hope Oleg gets to have a somewhat happy ending after all of this, probably more than any other character. He is one of the few main characters to do a huge thing not because of any personal gain, ideals, manipulation, of just because its their job, but because he thought it was the right thing to do, and didn't want to see innocent people die. He may have started out as a kind of douchy soviet fratboy type, but he's shown himself to actually be a really smart and decent guy, who it now seems is going to get screwed over for trying to be a good person. I have no idea how he will get out of this. He could tell the USSR the truth, but he saw what happened to Nina, so that's probably out, and I still don't think he would full on betray his country, plus he has his parents to think about. Its just a really shitty place to be, and he knows this. But, on the plus side, he looks just great this season. Those coats just hang off him perfectly. No one should look that hot just walking down a city street smoking and looking resigned.

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On 3/15/2017 at 7:35 AM, sistermagpie said:

I just love watching him dealing with the fallout of his best intentions. He wanted to be like the guy who didn't start WWIII and thought he was doing the right thing (I think he was doing the right thing) and thought he could then just run back, sacrifice his job in the US and that would be the end of the story. Now he realizes he's trapped and compromised even when he's poised to do good work for his country. Loved when the CIA just casually brought up his family as a bargaining chip.

He's the epitome of the Russian saying "хотелось как лучше, а получилось как всегда." Loosely translated it means "the intention was the best, but the outcome was as always."

Edited by chocolatine
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6 hours ago, chocolatine said:

He's the epitome of the Russian saying "хотелось как лучше, а получилось как всегда." Loosely translated it means "the intention was the best, but the outcome was as always."

Or "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."  Or my personal favorite "no good deed goes unpunished."

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For fun, I'm reading The Cold War: A History by Martin Walker. Recently, I read a section about Soviet children born during the late 1940s-1950s who did not experience WWII firsthand and grew to adulthood in relative peace. Is Oleg slightly younger than Philip and Elizabeth? While Oleg may have been alive during the end of Stalin's purges, it doesn't seem that he remembers them. While it's easy to attribute some of the differences between Oleg and Philip and Elizabeth to social class, I wonder if generation/cohort also plays a role as well.   

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Interesting point, Sarah 103.  Costa Ronin (b. 1979) is a few years younger than Rhys (b. 1974) and Russell (b. 1976).  I had thought Oleg was similarly a few years younger than their characters, perhaps more.

Edited by Inquisitionist · Reason: Corrected typo
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I took it from  the no-show in  Moscow that the FBI took Stan's threat seriously, and is no longer blackmailing Oleg.

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31 minutes ago, kikaha said:

I took it from  the no-show in  Moscow that the FBI took Stan's threat seriously, and is no longer blackmailing Oleg.

For now anyway. I have difficulty believing Stan is going to be allowed to dictate US policy without any repercussions,  which may mean problems for Oleg later. They may be acquiescing for now until they figure out how to handle Stan. 

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That could be. 

I kind of hope the CIA couldn't shake the constant KGB surveillance in Moscow though, that would be much more true to the time and place.  CIA officers had a very hard time in Moscow, and used all kinds of tricks to lose their tails.  In one case I read of, or perhaps heard during Baer's commentary on RED it was quite elaborate.

One agent had to meet a contact.  Two agents and their wives attended a huge party given by Russian officials, along with many other CIA/diplomatic people.  They had masks made of their faces, and met up in a bathroom, completely switching identities/clothes/faces there.  Their wives were aware, and the wives switched to the other agent impersonating their husband as well.  The guy not under super surveillance stayed at the party, while the other guy and his "wife" went "home" early.   He was able to shake his followers much more easily, and able to meet up with his mark.

Moscow duty was considered the toughest duty of all mostly because of that, had to spy when you are constantly watched by pros.

So, maybe Oleg's CIA guy was being watched too carefully to get away?

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On April 5, 2017 at 1:38 AM, Sarah 103 said:

Is Oleg slightly younger than Philip and Elizabeth? 

I have thought that Oleg is 32-35 while P&E are near 40.

Edited by RedHawk
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I originally created this topic because of Oleg's position in DC. If he'd stayed in it, he'd now have a room full of computers and cell phones that he'd be comparing, maybe with the aid of Consumer Reports.

But now he's home and he's joined the Untouchables.

Could some moderator please change the title of this topic to "Oleg: Dedicated".

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I mentioned in the IHOP episode thread that Oleg's mother may have been imprisoned on completely false charges. But maybe she did do something, was part of a faction that was working against the people in power, maybe Ivan was also. Perhaps she was caught while Ivan was not, and that explains some of his defensiveness when Oleg questions him. Possibly he made a lot of ugly behind-the-scenes deals to get her released and rise to his current position. 

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I like the guy; you can see he's forward thinking and a KGB with more Olegs would be really dangerous. He's not a slouch at tradecraft either going by how he distracts the FBI with his driving.

His role as a "good son" is marvellous; as someone who went back to live with ageing parents for even a short while I can understand the looks that cross his face in their appartment. I think that he and his father show how people must have felt about the personal price of the Afghan war.

P & E grew up in the post war USSR and had direct experience of the time, Ps father was clearly a veteran. Their generations had a very different experience to Oleg's; E growing up in Smolensk would have learnt a visceral hate for enemies of the Rodina while Oleg was born into a more privileged situation.

Edited by Nash · Reason: Add
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5 hours ago, Nash said:

P & E grew up in the post war USSR and had direct experience of the time, Ps father was clearly a veteran. Their generations had a very different experience to Oleg's; E growing up in Smolensk would have learnt a visceral hate for enemies of the Rodina while Oleg was born into a more privileged situation.

I agree. It's clear what a big difference a few years can make and on top that Oleg is from a more powerful/influential family. 

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I meant to say that Olegs father was clearly a veteran; Oleg seems a stepping stone between the older generation and the next - he's clearly patriotic but thinks around issues and he doesn't trust the old men in the Kremlin with bioweapons. He will not be too surprised if he's in the DDR when the Wall goes down and the tanks don't come - unlike E who would be shattered. His respect for his brother's fellow soldier is obvious but come the KGB coup vs Gorbachev, Oleg would know which side he's on. 

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On 04/05/2017 at 4:15 PM, RedHawk said:

I mentioned in the IHOP episode thread that Oleg's mother may have been imprisoned on completely false charges. But maybe she did do something, was part of a faction that was working against the people in power, maybe Ivan was also. Perhaps she was caught while Ivan was not, and that explains some of his defensiveness when Oleg questions him. Possibly he made a lot of ugly behind-the-scenes deals to get her released and rise to his current position. 

I'd make that "he made" deals. Olegs mother would have been arrested on trumped up charges to pressure Ivan, probably as part of some feud between khovsts (cliques) within the Party. 

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On July 10, 2017 at 0:36 PM, Nash said:

he doesn't trust the old men in the Kremlin with bioweapons.

When Chernobyl happens, he's going to be thinking something along the lines of "This is horrible, but I called it. I hate to be right about this."

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On ‎4‎.‎5‎.‎2017 at 6:15 PM, RedHawk said:

I mentioned in the IHOP episode thread that Oleg's mother may have been imprisoned on completely false charges. But maybe she did do something, was part of a faction that was working against the people in power, maybe Ivan was also. Perhaps she was caught while Ivan was not, and that explains some of his defensiveness when Oleg questions him. Possibly he made a lot of ugly behind-the-scenes deals to get her released and rise to his current position. 

There were no "factions" in the late 40ies or early 50ies when Oleg's mother was imprisoned. 

Her crime was "sabotage" which meant probably that there were some problem in her workplace and the culprit was needed to explain the reason for it, because one couldn't admit that the system wasn't working.  

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Initially my thought was that the writers kind of went out of their way to weave Oleg into the main story plot for this final season.

After all, you'd think he'd want out of this game since he has a 1-year old and wife.

But Arkady said what kind of country would his son be growing up in and that seemed to convince Oleg.

I don't remember their convos in previous seasons where they said things which would be consistent with supporting Gorbachev's reforms.

But I do remember once Oleg said that the Soviets could be trigger-happy and a mistake would lead to an all-out response by his side.  He also didn't like the war in Afghanistan which led to his brother's death.

Stan was right that Oleg is a decent man.  In this case, he answered the call to try to help make the world a better place or at least a better government for his country.

Elizabeth talks all the time about doing what she does to make the world better.  Quite a contrast between her actions and his and as it turns out, they're on opposite sides now.

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10 hours ago, scrb said:

I don't remember their convos in previous seasons where they said things which would be consistent with supporting Gorbachev's reforms.

 

I think what was built in was that Oleg doing things like handing over William to the Americans because he thought the bioweapon was a bad idea, Oleg being compassionate to Nina, Oleg's criticism of the Afghanistan war and Oleg's work trying to root out corruption were the type of things Arkady was talking about. Also he apparently left the KGB being a bit disgusted at what they were doing. Arkady's last mission, too, seemed like it was something that made him disillusioned with the way the KGB was run. That seems to be the kind of thing they're fighting against.

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