Fleet Admiral Konstantin Ruskov was a high ranking officer in the Russian Navy before the spread of the virus who served as the main villain for most of the first season.
Not much is known about Ruskov's background except was a vice admiral in the Red Banner Northern Fleet of the Russian Navy during the time of the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ruskov continued to serve the Russia Navy, was eventually promoted to fleet admiral and wrote a definitive book on naval warfare, which Captain Chandler read. He was the Commanding Officer of the Vyerni which was also out at sea when the virus spread. When Moscow ordered all the ships to return home, Ruskov argued that this was a bad idea but Russian command dismissed his concerns. Ruskov takes matters into his own hands and disobeyed his orders, saving his crew and ship in the process and made his the last existing ship of the Russian Navy. From that point on he felt he served no country and only served himself.
He eventually had Dr. Niels Sørenson captured to learn what he knew about the virus. Ruskov heard about Dr. Rachel Scott's work on the vaccine from Niels, and wanted her to create it for him and his crew only so that they could control it and the world. He decided to kidnap Dr. Scott and steal her work so she and Niels could develop the vaccines. To this end he learned that Dr. Scott's partner, Dr. Quincy Tophet, was in contact with a Russian colleague, Dr. Sergei Yumanov. Two weeks prior to them leaving for the Arctic, Ruskov killed Yumanov, kidnapped Tophet's wife and daughter, Kelly and Ava, and forced Quincy to reveal their locations and strategies so Ruskov could capture Scott and get the vaccines. During their captivity, Ruskov forced Kelly to have sex with him in exchange for "taking care of their needs."
Events of The Last Ship
Once they locate Dr. Scott, Ruskov sends a team of five helicopters to capture her and kill her escorts on the Nathan James. The Americans however, destroy all five helicopters killing all their operatives, while the Americans suffer no casualties. When Ruskov learned the Nathan James was heading to France, he ordered a nuke to be fired at France to prevent them from refueling there and disable their ship's electronics, making it easier to catch up to them. The Nathan James manages to restore power and flees back to America. (“Phase Six”)
Over the radio, Ruskov then learns that the Nathan James is heading to Guantanamo Bay, thanks to fuel they siphoned from an Italian cruise ship. Ruskov orders Tophet to stall them leaving Gitmo as much as possible until they arrive. The Vyerni eventually catches up and when the Nathan James hails them Ruskov has Kelly say the ship approaching was British and requests permission to approach. Captain Chandler identifies himself as the commanding officer and welcomes them. When they are in range they lock onto them and Ruskov hails Captain Chandler. Ruskov and introduces himself in preparation to make his demands. (“Welcome to Gitmo”)
Ruskov introduces himself while Chandler warns him to stand down but Ruskov simply replies that he has pursued him across the sea and when they meet his demands, they can leave. Ruskov asks for the primordial strain of the virus, Dr. Rachel Scott, and her research. Chandler suggests they meet face to face and Ruskov agrees, using the time to talk and solidify their defensive position by planting mines around the only known channel out.
At the meeting, after Quincy confirms that Ruskov is not infected, Ruskov and Chandler banter over their encounter in the Arctic. Ruskov briefs Chandler of everything that happened while he was in the Arctic, including how he survived and how the fear destroyed people faster than the virus, and argues that the world doesn't deserve to be saved. He then says he holds a key ingredient to making a cure and threatens to kill them all if they don't comply with his demands. Chandler calls his bluff and makes a counter-offer: a sample of the primordial strain, which Ruskov refuses even after Tophet volunteers to go with him. When Chandler comments that they can last longer since they have all the food on the island, Ruskov responds by asking Lt. Viktor for his pistol and shoots him in the head.
The next day, Ruskov orders his men to intercept and kill two American sailors on a submersible looking for another way out of the bay. Captain Chandler responds by firing a round knocking all the sailors off the boat, but alive. When Ruskov calls him out on that, Chandler chastises Ruskov for killing his own man earlier to make a point and threatens to fire again on his three men and Ruskov asks what he wants. Chandler then demands Ruskov leave the harbor and, while angry and reluctant, Ruskov agrees but gives Chandler 24 hours to meet Ruskov's own demands and warns him not to try and launch sneak attack.
Ruskov gives Dr. Tophet new orders over the SAT phone: take everything including Dr. Scott and deliver them using a Zodiac. Ruskov has Kelly escorted into his chambers and shares a drink of vodka with her waiting on the success of her husband's mission. Ruskov returns to the bridge where, anticipating victory, gives a speech rallying the crew that they will be the masters of the world after tonight. Ruskov sees the boat he provided with a man and woman onboard. Unaware that it is Lts. Green and Foster on the boat and it is loaded with explosives, Ruskov gives the lets them approach and orders the Nathan James sunk after everything is secure.
When Senior Lt. Dimitri informs Ruskov that the Zodiac isn't slowing down he realizes it isn't them, he orders his men to sink the boat but the it collides with his ship. As a result the hull is damaged and a dozen of his men are killed in the process. When his Executive Officer (XO) Senior Lt. Asmik reports this to Ruskov and suggests firing on the Nathan James, Ruskov rejects this idea realizing they tricked their radar system and the Nathan James is gone through a canal they didn't know about. Ruskov visits Niels to brief him on the situation takes his leave while Niels continues his research. (“Dead Reckoning”)
Ruskov later informs Niels that the ship has finally been repaired and asks where they would go if Dr. Scott was close to making a vaccine. Niels replies that she will need monkeys to test them and suggests looking in Puerto Rico. Ruskov suggests a different location since Chandler would want to get further away from them so Niels suggests Central America but can't be specific.
Ruskov's crew later intercepts a message from an American "fishing boat" going to rescue a girl on a boat. While his crew is excited, Ruskov simply relays orders to wait and see who they send and to stay out of radar range to hide their presence. To this end he sends two Zodiacs loaded with three men each to the coordinates the girl gave. after his men get eyes on the Octopus, Ruskov orders them to take as many Americans as they can, alive. One Zodiac is shot down and the other reports they cannot find the Americans, which infuriates Ruskov. Ruskov returns to his quarters and has dinner with Kelly and Ava in which he makes both uncomfortable.
Asmik comes in and informs his that they intercepted another radio transmission of an American ordering his men to cease any rescue operations, realizing immediately that it was Chandler. Ruskov then orders them to send a drone to look for him. While observing the drone the Nathan James launches a missile, destroying it. While initially shocked at this, he realizes that Chandler's crew disobeyed his orders and would do anything to save him and will be a useful bargaining chip. Ruskov starts to grow impatient with Asmik and Dimitri when they fail to find Chandler and threatens to have them both killed if they can't find him. (“SOS”)
Chandler and another American, Tex Nolan, are eventually found, captured, and brought aboard his ship. Ruskov imprisons Tex and brings Chandler to his quarters where he introduces them to Kelly and Ava. He sends Ava away and forces Chandler to sit at the dinner table. Ruskov attempts to ask about Dr. Scott's progress with the vaccine, but Chandler simply states his name, rank, and serial number. Ruskov mocks him and says his compassion and hubris are his weaknesses. Chandler just repeats himself as a response.
Ruskov hails the Nathan James and when Commander Slattery answers, Ruskov demands Rachel Scott and all relevant samples and research or else Chandler and Tex die. He lets Chandler talk to Slattery confirming he is alive and gives Slattery ten minutes to respond. They agree to his terms and Rachel Scott is sent on a boat out of radar range where they will pick her up by helicopter. His men successfully grab Dr. Scott off the boat and bring them to the Vyerni.
After she is searched, Ruskov meets her is his quarters and brings up the prisoners at her instruction where she kisses Chandler, to everyone's surprise. She then demands they let them go, but Ruskov first takes her to Niels to get working on the vaccine. When Dr. Scott says she already has the vaccine Ruskov angrily confronts Niels off his deception and Niels refuses to accept she found the cure without her. To this end, Ruskov forces Senior Lt. Dimitri to take Scott's vaccine and put him in with Niels to test it. Ruskov comments that his brother will remembered as a hero for being the first one vaccinated against the "crying death" and is proud of him before directing Niels to breath on him.
Ruskov then taunts Chandler and Tex about Scott's vaccine and that he will kill them all unless they join Ruskov, and Chandler only repeats his earlier statements. Ruskov eventually realizes the Americans have launched a rescue operation and orders his men not to sound the alarm, seal the doors, stay off the radio as Chandler speaks Russian, and to bring Dr. Scott to him. When the Americans sabotage the propulsion, Ruskov predicts they will escape from the stern and sends his men their to cut them off. Chandler sees through this and Ruskov changes strategy and splits his men to cover the starboard and port sides of the ship to look for the escape boat. Ruskov starts getting angry and when more explosions occur on the ship he orders the ship move at full throttle to stop them. They however manage to make their escape and more explosions are triggered taking the whole ship down and Ruskov along with it. (“Two Sailors Walk Into a Bar”)
Ruskov and his crew are the first villains the Nathan James and her crew have faced and left a lasting emotional scar on the crew as well as Quincy Tophet and his family. Ruskov's actions left millions dead, including Dr. Sergei Yumanov, the nuclear strike on France, two members of his own crew, and three members of the Nathan James crew. Of those three, Berchem and Smith where killed at Guantanamo Bay while Cossetti was killed in the operation to rescue Chandler and Tex.
Years later, after the sinking of the Nathan James, Chandler has a hallucination of Ruskov along with many other people who have died along the way.
Awards and Decorations
The following are the medals and service awards seen worn on Ruskov's uniform in the show.