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The Oktober Guard (or October Guard) (Russian: Октябрьская Гвардия, Oktyabr'skaya Gvardiya, lit. October Guard) is a fictional special operations unit first introduced in the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comics and cartoon, and subsequently the toyline itself. The name is a reference to Russia's October Revolution. Usually thought to be the Soviet (Russian after the Cold War) equivalent of G.I. Joe, they are in fact composed of members from several Warsaw Pact countries. Unlike the Joes, the team is composed of just a small squad and most do not use code names.
Originally, the Oktober Guard was to be called the Pravda Patrol (Russian: Патруль Правды, Patrul' Pravdy, may be translated as Truth Patrol or by the name of the main CPSU newspaper Pravda) with the members sporting far different costumes. The designs were created by Tom DeFalco and Herb Trimpe, but Hasbro did not approve of the design. The Pravda Patrol made a brief appearance in Bizarre Adventures #31, in the short story "Let There Be Life". Further revisions led to the final design, as seen in #6 of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comics. The team name was initially spelled October with a "c", but was written as "Oktober Guard" in all subsequent appearances.
The Oktober Guard often operates internationally, protecting and promoting Soviet and Warsaw Pact interests. Despite the fact their respective countries are rivals with the United States during the Cold War, the members of the Oktober Guard are never portrayed as evil, but as military professionals doing their job and serving their country. Their missions often put them at odds with G.I. Joe, but opposing Cobra is a major objective for the squad, and when the situation arises, they often find themselves temporarily allied with the Joes against a common foe.
In the Marvel Comics G.I. Joe series, they were first featured in issues #6 and 7. They fought and then allied themselves with the G.I. Joe team, in pursuit of a technologically advanced plane that Cobra takes into Afghanistan. Joe member Clutch saves the lives of the Guard on two different occasions. The plane parts are ultimately taken by the Joe team, who leave the Guard in a diversionary battle with Cobra.
The Oktober Guard are featured in two issues of the annual G.I. Joe Yearbook. In Yearbook #2, their laser cannon is stolen by Cobra. The Oktober Guard get it back, but the train they are using to transport the laser cannon is rerouted by the G.I. Joe team. The G.I. Joe team takes possession of the cannon at the train's final destination, the port of Karachi, Pakistan. In Yearbook #4, the Oktober Guard invade Cobra Island in a mission to abduct Cobra Commander. Stormavik and Schrage are captured by Joe forces, before the others land and come into conflict with Croc Master. With the assistance of two Joes who had followed, Wet Suit and Torpedo, they escape with whom they believed to be Cobra Commander. He turns out to be a disguised Battle Android Trooper, which destroys itself during the escape, in the helicopter blades of the Cobra Mamba the Oktober Guard had stolen. The two prisoners are allowed to return, in exchange for the damaged helicopter.
The Guard comes into conflict with the Joes in the fourth issue of the Special Missions series. Both teams are pursuing a lost technological device. They are captured by river pirates and Horrorshow is forced to fight the pacifist medic Lifeline. The medic uses a martial art that minimizes the damage to Horrorshow. Impressed, the pirates let the soldiers go, but dump the device. The Guard works in concert with the Joes later, in a conflict against Cobra at the Bering Strait.
The Oktober Guard travels to Sierra Gordo to free "El Jefe", a revolutionary leader that the Russians support. In order to accomplish this, they battle the Iron Grenadiers, Voltar and other Cobra forces. The group learns that El Jefe has been consumed with power and greed, but they attempt to escape with him and a train full of his supporters. Voltar and the Iron Grenadiers confront the group, with the Joes Recondo, Shockwave and Lt. Falcon hiding on the train. Stormavik and Schrage sacrifice themselves to flip much needed train switches. Col. Brekhov and Horrorshow are shot while in their transport vehicle, but manage to still fight to an explosive end that destroys the Iron Grenadier forces. Diana, Dragonsky and the Joes are captured by yet another faction looking to gain control in Sierra Gordo, but are rescued later.
The group gains new members to replace the fatalities. This new group works with the Joes and their allies, the Tucaros. The three-part alliance again confronts Iron Grenadiers. Their last known mission prior to being disbanded, is a joint operation with the G.I. Joe subgroup Star Brigade. The two groups work together to successfully destroy a robot-filled asteroid, which threatens to crash into Earth.
The Oktober Guard's presence is felt in the Devil's Due production of G.I. Joe comic books. Flint and Baroness are kidnapped by criminal forces opposed to Cobra's activities. The Joes, Destro and the Iron Grenadiers team with Guard veterans Lt. Gorky and Volga. Volga later joins the G.I. Joe team as Vorona; she develops a friendship with the new Joe recruit Barrel Roll. the Guard members re-unite and confront Cobra operatives during the World War III storyline. They are assisted by the Joe operative Lt. Falcon.
In the continued A Real American Hero comics written by Larry Hama, issue #173 and #174 deals with a Russian T-90 tank crew and a G.I. Joe M—1 Abrams crew, as the two sides fight a mock battle promoting potential sales of either the T-90 or M—1 units to the Emirate of Benzheen. The Russian crew is composed of two new characters: Colonel Chikatilo and Malyenkiy; as well as original member, Daina. Later, when facing a real incoming surprise attack by Cobra armor, Colonel Chikatilo agrees to fight with the G.I. Joe team, stating: "We are no longer the Oktober Guard, but we still have our honor." 
In issues #17-#21 of IDW's Cobra series, a new version of the Oktober Guard appears. They are led by Colonel Shtern and their members are Horrorshow, Daina, Gorky, and 2nd in command Shturmovik. In issue #21, their base is attacked by Cobra, and during the battle Major Bludd manages to grab Colonel Shtern's pistol,and tells Shtern to release him from his cell. Shtern tells him he will die with all of them, and Major Bludd then shoots and kills him. Major Bludd uses Shtern's super weapon "The CZAR Cannon" to destroy Cobra's base, and hit Colonel Shtern's government contacts. He tells the rest of the team that they are now considered traitors and fugitives.
- Col. Ivan Nikolevich Brekhov – The original commander of the Oktober Guard. He is usually shown smoking a cigar. Col. Brekov teams up with his counterpart Duke in "The Invaders" episode of the Sunbow animated series. He is killed in action in Sierra Gordo. His original name was going to be Captain Yuri. Captain Yuri and The Pravda Patrol appear in Bizarre Adventures #31. He was voiced by Gregg Berger in the Sunbow cartoon.
- Daina – Czech sniper and helicopter pilot, and the only woman on the original team. She often has to put up with the sexist attitudes of her comrades, such as being forced to do the heavy labor. She and Dragonsky are the two surviving original members. In the Devil's Due G.I. Joe series, she joins the Joes after mourning Lt. Gorky's death, and takes the code name Vorona. Released as figure in a Toys R Us exclusive three-pack in 1997 under the name Volga, her filecard lists her real name as "Daina L. Janack", suggesting she's meant to be the same character as Daina. A later figure actually named Daina was released in 2004. In in the Sunbow animated series she is referred to as "Dania" and is partnered with Dusty in "The Invaders" episode. Her original name was going to be Sachi. A curious fact is that she is depicted with different hair color depending on the continuity. (Daina was shown as blonde in Marvel comics, the figure Volga and Devil's Due Vorona had auburn hair, Sunbow's "Dania" is burnette and In IDW she has short red hair.)
- Dragonsky – Flamethrower soldier and mechanic. First appeared in G.I. Joe Yearbook #2, years after the Oktober Guard's first comic book appearance, nevertheless he is one of the original members. A legend has it that he is incredibly old. Current whereabouts unknown. His real name is Andrei Freisov.
- Horrorshow – RPG trooper from the Soviet republic of Georgia. He is killed in action in Sierra Gordo. The Sunbow animated series has him develop a rivalry with Gung-Ho, who he keeps calling "ugly" after an argument. The name calling develops into a friendly rivalry, with Gung-Ho calling the Russian (actually a Georgian) a "Dumb Russian Bear". His original name was going to be Big Bear. His real name is Stepan Drukersky. He was voiced by Frank Welker in the Sunbow cartoon. In IDW continuity, he has a long brown beard, uses a big machine gun and wears a bulletproof hazardous waste suit. His name In The IDW Universe is Peter Danko.
- Schrage – East German infantry. He is killed in action in Sierra Gordo while attempting to save his friends and allies. His original name was going to be Striker. In one appearance, his name is spelled Shrage.
- Stormavik – Russian para-trooper. Doesn't say much in the Sunbow series, where he is partnered with Barbecue. He is killed in action in Sierra Gordo while attempting to save his friends and allies. His original name was going to be Mouse. Stormavik was voiced by Ed Flanders. In IDW continuity, his name is Shturmovik, and he has blond hair and wears a beret. He appears to be the field leader and 2nd in command.
- Wong – The only made-for-TV member, and the only member representing China. He wears a blue uniform and a tan cowboy hat. Speaks using cowboy slang and uses a lasso. He is partnered with Snake-Eyes in the Sunbow series episode "The Invaders". He was voiced by Neil Ross in the Sunbow TV series. His file name is Wen-Yun Wong.
- General Vaskovia - Appeared in the Sunbow episode "The Great Alaskan Land Rush".
- Red Star – Appointed as the new team's leader and a G.I. Joe team member later on. His real name is Capt. Anatoly Fodorovich Krimov. He has an uncanny resemblance to Col. Brekhov, but their relationship was never explained. Current whereabouts unknown. Red Star was voiced by Brent Chapman and Maurice LaMarche in the DiC show, and Liam O'Brien in G.I. Joe Renegades.
- Big Bear – Russian anti-armor specialist and paratrooper. Doesn't like the Guard to be called the counterpart of G.I. Joe team. His real name is Grigor Ivanovich Rostoff. He is a non-playable supporting character in the 1992 game G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor.
- Lt. Gorky – Russian Naval Infantry. His real name is Mikhail P. Gorky. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he was demoralized by the rampant corruption in the Russian armed forces. In the Devil's Due G.I. Joe series, he is assigned to assist the Joes and Cobra in a joint mission to rescue Baroness and Flint. He betrays the groups to the kidnappers. Gorky is shot dead by Destro. In IDW continuity, he's bald and has a handlebar mustache.
- Sgt. Misha Zubenkov – Russian Spetsnaz trooper. Reunited with his comrades to fight Cobra in World War III.
- Ruslan – Brief appearance in Devil's Due G.I. Joe: America's Elite series.
- General Iron Bear- General of the Oktober Guard team from the 2012 G.I. Joe Convention set. General Iron Bear later defects to Destro and renames himself "General Mayhem." The action figure of General Iron Bear is based on the likeness of Hasbro Toys' Global Brand Manager VP, Derryl DePriest.
- Colonel Chikatilo - Commander.
- Malyenkiy - Tank driver.
- Colonel Shtern - The commander of the team in IDW continuity. In G.I. Joe: Cobra vol. 2 #21. Presumably killed by Major Bludd.
The Oktober Guard first appeared in the Sunbow G.I. Joe episode "The Invaders" as a five person squad, featuring: Col. Brekhov, Sergeant Horrorshow, Daina, Stormavik, and Wong. They are described as the "Russian version of G.I. Joe, an elite combat force" and often scream "Nu Pogodi" ("Ну Погоди") (Just you wait!) when going into battle.
They were also featured in the episodes: "The Great Alaskan Land Rush" and the "Arise, Serpentor, Arise!" miniseries Part 2.
Daina also made an appearance in an episode of sister series The Transformers, "Prime Target", when professional game hunter Lord Chumley steals a top-secret Soviet jet that she was piloting (forcing her to eject), in an attempt to capture Autobot leader Optimus Prime for his hunting collection. (Similarly, frequent Marvel/Sunbow newscaster Hector Ramirez, a parody of Geraldo Rivera, and a fixture on G.I. Joe, Jem, and most notably Inhumanoids also made an appearance in that episode, which was written by Flint Dille and Buzz Dixon, the story editors for G.I. Joe.)
- Sunbow TV series vehicles
- Episode 13 Cold Shoulder (Col. Krimov)
- Episode 15 General Confusion (Col. Krimov)
- Epispde 16 Night of the Creepers (Col. Krimov)
- Episode 17 That's Entertainment (Col. Krimov)
- Episode 26 Chunnel (Big Bear)
- Episode 31 Long Live Rock N Roll, Part II (Big Bear, cameo)
- Episode 33 Message from the Deep (Col. Krimov, cameo)
- Episode 40 Keyboard Warriors (Big Bear)
G.I. Joe: Renegades
In the G.I. Joe: Renegades episode "Union of the Snake", Captain Anatoly Krimov (AKA Red Star) makes a guest appearance as a member of an underground resistance movement opposed to the rule of the Baroness' Cisarovna family, who described the group as a terrorist organization. His attempts to blow up the Baroness' family castle coincide with the Joes' attempts to stop her and Doctor Mindbender from using Tomax and Xamot's psychic abilities, to brainwash a party of telecommunications corporation owners competing with Cobra. While Red Star is willing to blow up the castle with the civilians still in it in order to prevent further mind controlling of the public, he gives time to destroy a satellite dish relaying the signal. He then leads them to an escape tunnel having earned some respect for the group's methods, though not agreeing with them. Red Star then reports to his superiors that the mission was aborted. His appearance is quite different from all other appearances; he has a black goatee and a scar on his lip.
Despite the Oktober Guard's debut in the comic book in 1982, and their animated debut in 1985, the Oktober Guard were not featured in the related action figures until Red Star was initially released in 1991. An early packaging error listed him as a member of Cobra. However, this was soon corrected, and the package color and logo represented his alliance with G.I. Joe, although he was listed as an Oktober Guard character on his file card.
Big Bear was initially released in 1992. It should be noted that despite Red Star's resemblance to Colonel Brekhov, both Red Star and Big Bear were entirely new characters developed for the action figure line.
Big Bear was recolored in 1993, and offered as part of an "International Team" mail-order set, which also featured re-colorations of Big Ben (representing England), Spirit (representing the U.S.), and Budo (representing Japan).
An Oktober Guard three-pack was produced in 1998, which consisted of Colonel Brekhov (a re-coloration of Red Star); Lt. Gorky (a re-coloration of Big Bear despite little resemblance); and Lt. Volga, initially intended to be Daina.
The original Oktober Guard was released in 2004, as part of the comic-based sets, in conjunction with sets #6 and 7, which were the issue numbers in which they originally debuted. The three-packs featured Colonel Brekhov, Daina, Stormavik, Schrage, Horrorshow, and G.I. Joe Team member Stalker, who played a significant role in the comic book story.
A Dragonsky figure, was part of the 2005 Official G.I. Joe Collectors' Club series of figures in a separate three-pack, which also featured Gung-Ho and a new character called Steel Brigade Commander.
The remaining members of the Oktober Guard were released in 2006, in a comic-based set based on issue #101, which featured the debut of the "new" Oktober Guard, and featured figures of Dragonsky, Lt. Gorky, and Sgt. Misha, using entirely different molds.
A 25th Anniversary-style version of Red Star was produced, and sold in a comic-based two-pack alongside Duke. The comic story, entirely original, features Red Star, Daina, and Horrorshow teaming up with Duke and other Joes to fight Cobra. Red Star seems to have assumed Colonel Brekhov's role as leader of the Guard.
The 2012 G.I. Joe convention featured a convention box set with an Oktober Guard theme, producing many new convention exclusive Oktober Guard figures in the 25th Anniversary molds. The set is called Operation: Bear Trap, and the Oktober Guard will be facing the Iron Grenadiers. The Oktober Guard members in the set includes Colonel Brekhov, Daina, Stormavik, Schrage, Horror-Show, and new Oktober Guard member General Iron Bear. An Oktober Guard Convention T-Shirt was also available as an attendee exclusive.
In 2014, The G.I. Joe Collectors Club Will have Big Bear and Dragonsky available through their Figure Subscription Service.
Note: All vehicles were from the 2012 G.I. Joe Convention.
- Oktober Guard Attack Helicopter
- Dnepr - Oktober Guard Motorcycle with side car.
- Soviet Convoy Truck - Has 3 interchangeable bed covers, 1 for the Oktober Guard, 1 for the Iron Grenadiers, and 1 for Cobra.
- Hidalgo, Pablo (2009). G.I. Joe vs. Cobra: The Essential Guide 1982-2008. Random House. ISBN 978-0-345-51642-8.
- Bellomo, Mark (2009). The Ultimate Guide to G.I. Joe 1982-1994. Krause Publications. ISBN 978-0-89689-922-3.
- Santelmo, Vincent (1994). The Official 30th Anniversary Salute To G.I. Joe 1964-1994. Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87341-301-6.
- Engelhardt, Tom (2007). The End of Victory Culture: Cold War America and the Disillusioning of a Generation. Univ of Massachusetts Press. p. 302. ISBN 978-1-55849-586-9.
- Wherle, Scott (2002). G.I. Joe: Battle Files #1. Devil's Due Publishing. p. 43.
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #6-7 (December 1982-January 1983)
- G.I. Joe Yearbook #2 (1986)
- G.I. Joe Yearbook #4 (1988)
- G.I. Joe: Special Missions #4 (April 1987)
- G.I. Joe: Special Missions #20 (April 1989)
- G.I. Joe: Special Missions #26 (Oct. 1989)
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #92 (1989)
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #105
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #145-149
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vol. 2 #17-19 (2003)
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vol. 2 #28-30 (2004)
- G.I. Joe: America's Elite #35 (2007)
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #173 (December 2011)
- G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vol. 2 #28 (March 2004)
- Henderson, Robert. "Robert Henderson's Voice Actor Research".
- G.I. Joe Field Manual vol. 1. IDW Publishing (2012)
- Roberts, Matt. "G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor for the NES". YoJoe.com. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- As hinted at in the 2012 Fun Publications G.I. Joe vs Cobra #5 comic; and by G.I. Joe Club staff member and comic writer David S. Lane.
- Oktober Guard at JMM's G.I. Joe Comics Home Page
- Oktober Guard character guide at JMM's G.I. Joe Comics Home Page
- Oktober Guard HQ
- History of the Oktober Guard