The Soviet driver was a Ukrainian, who, in 1957, was not much older than Irina Spalko had been when she first joined the army. That same year, the Soviet driver and his comrades, disguised as US military soldiers, aided Colonel Antonin Dovchenko and Colonel Doctor Irina Spalko in infiltrating Hangar 51 in Nevada, USA as part of a covert Soviet invasion of America to acquire the Roswell remains.
The man accompanied his superiors to Hangar 51 in the back of a large cargo truck. On the way to the hangar, he disapproved of several teenagers led by Jimmy Keegan speeding past in their hot rod. Once they arrived at Hangar 51, Sergeant Wycroft and his MPs approached them, informing them that the base they were entering was closed due to weapons testing. The Ukrainian remained inside his truck as several other soldiers executed the guards, and then they were led into the hangar itself.
Their prisoners, Indiana Jones and George "Mac" McHale, were released under Dovchenko's orders, and were surrounded by the Soviets as Jones retrieved his fedora. After Jones was coerced into finding the crate holding the Roswell crash victim, he led the group into the hangar, where they awaited further instructions from their captive. When Jones asked Colonel Dovchenko for bullets, the Colonel translated this to his subordinates and they all laughed at Indy. However, the archaeologist was able to convince Dovchenko to give him several bullets which he used to locate the highly magnetized crate in which the Roswell remains were kept.
The Soviets looked on in awe as Spalko opened the crate, showing them all the corpse of a deceased being from another world. However, Jones used the distraction of the inhuman body to disable the Soviet guarding him and steal a machine gun from both the latter and Franklin for himself and Mac. The two threatened Spalko, but after Mac revealed his loyalty was to the Russians, Indy realized he was outnumbered. Dovchenko ordered him to drop his gun, but when Jones did the machine gun fired and the bullet hit Marelli in the foot, allowing the archaeologist time to climb a wall of crates and make his escape, despite the efforts of several soldiers to kill him.
The Ukrainian later served as Irina Spalko's driver in Brazil. When Indiana Jones escaped in a duck with the Crystal Skull of Akator, the driver transported Spalko during the subsequent chase through the jungle to gain control of the artifact. At one point Spalko forced him into the backseat and took over the vehicle herself, hanging on for his life due to his superior's reckless driving, but the soldier eventually got back behind the wheel only for the Soviets and Jones' party to crash into a nest of deadly siafu ants. Both the driver and Spalko managed to escape from their crashed vehicle and ran for the safety of the trees, but the driver didn't make it. Overcome by the ant swarm, he was pulled down and devoured alive.
Behind the scenes
The Soviet Driver was portrayed uncredited by Gleb Kaminer in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Kaminer also portrayed another uncredited soldier in the film. In the film's shooting script, the part of the driver was noted as being played by stuntman Don Lee, but Kaminer took the part in the finished film. The character is identified in the film's pre-visualization animatics as "Russian Driver".
His death is slightly different in James Rollins' novelization in that he dies much sooner. Unlike in the film, he is unable to get out of the car before being swarmed and eaten by the ants. In the comic adaptation, he doesn't get eaten by the siafu as Irina Spalko's car doesn't crash into the anthill. With the art open to interpretation, he may have been one of the three soldiers alongside Spalko who die in the Temple of Akator at the end of the comic, incinerated by the interdimensional beings.
In LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues, the Soviet Driver survives the attack because he is not with Spalko at the moment the siafu appear. Instead, he appears with a sweeper and rescues Spalko, leaving Antonin Dovchenko to face his fate. In the DS version, he drives the car during the sword fight between Spalko and Mutt Williams, but as Spalko's vehicle never crashes into the anthill, the Soviet Driver's fate is left unknown.
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (First appearance)
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull novel
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull comic
- LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (Non-canonical appearance)