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Battlefield 3: The Russian is a novel written by Andy McNab, a former SAS operator, and by Peter Grimsdale. The novel takes place during and after the events of Battlefield 3 and tells of how Dimitri Mayakovsky kept himself and his platoon alive. It was released on October 25, 2011.[1]


Spetsnaz has been a name to strike fear into the hearts of Mother Russia's enemies. But what was there left to fight for now the country had gone to the dogs? Dima Mayakovsky - once a revered figure inside the elite Special Forces unit - wanted no part of it any more.

But when a dangerous fugitive surfaces in Tehran, Dima is the man the Kremlin wants to bring in. The target has something Dima's political masters want back. And they have made sure that they do not have to take no for an answer.

There is no option: the ex-Spetsnaz legend must lead his hand-picked team of highly-trained, battle-hardened operatives into explosive combat. But that wasn't the sort of thing you could hide from the US recon satellites that circled the skies above.

That meant Dima and his men became Marine Sergeant Henry "Black" Blackburn's problem. Sent across the border into Iran to search for a missing patrol, Black's men weren't looking for trouble, but they found it. In spades.

And as Iran descends into chaos, Dima and Black are forced to question everything they believe in, and to fight to survive for their comrades, their honor, and the lives of millions.

They're on their own. And the clocks are ticking...


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This article contains possible spoilers. Read at your own risk!
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This section is currently under construction. It may contain little or inaccurate information.

Operation in BeirutEdit

The prologue begins in Beirut, Lebanon, in August 1991. GRU agents Dmitri Mayakovsky and his protégée Solomon are preparing in their hotel room for their mission to capture Iranian nuclear specialist Khalaji. Paliov calls Dima to give them the go ahead, saying they’ve been informed that Khalaji’s “all set” and reminds Dima to kill him if a problem arises, so as to avoid the Americans getting him. After hanging up, Dima angrily thinks to himself how Paliov’s intel is weak and the .45s him and Solomon have been given for their cover as CIA agents are in poor condition. More distressing to Dima is the fact that Solomon, despite it being his first GRU mission, is completely calm and collected, and is in fact looking forward to seeing Khalaji’s look when he realizes “he’s not headed to the land of the free.” The two set out to a bombed out parking lot where Kalaji is supposed to meet them, and wait at a bar opposite of it for his arrival. Dima has two shots of vodka, while Solomon opts for water, prompting Dima to comment on how he must have no vices at all.

Khalaji then arrives, but much to Dima’s displeasure, he has brought his entire family, ruining the plan to quickly get him on a jet to Russia without incident. After making sure he wasn’t followed, the pair approach Khalaji’s car, with Solomon already planning how they’ll have to kill his wife and children. After Dima mistakenly introduces himself as “Dave” (Khalaji had been contacted by a “Dean”) and his wife notices the smell of alcohol on his breath, Solomon quickly intervenes and introduces himself as Dean, using his perfected American accent to convince Khalaji and his family that they’re Americans. At that moment, two CIA SUVs pull up and eight men disembark, all armed and with weapons trained on Dima. With Solomon having hidden among the cars in the parking lot as soon at the vehicles arrived, Dima is left alone and attempts to shoot one of the men with his 45. Disoriented from the vodka, his first shot misses, his second jams the gun, and he is them disarmed by a shot to his hand from the agents. Dima falls to the ground as the agents pull the Khalaji family out of the car, and he attempts to fire again with a Berretta he was carrying as a backup. He once again misses, and an agent turns to shoot him. Solomon then reappears from the cars and kills the man, whose corpse falls onto Dima. Solomon fires on the SUVs as they speed away.

After Solomon lifts the body off of Dima, the latter asks him if he had killed Khalaji. Solomon informs him that he did not, having had to choose between the agent about to shoot Dima or Khalaji. Dima says that Solomon just saved his life, to which Solomon replies “Yes. I fucked up.”

Hostage ExchangeEdit

The story continues in the year 2014, with Dima, retired from the GRU and working as a mercenary, heading out with Kroll to exchange five million USD for a girl named Katya Bulganov, the daughter of an old Spetsnaz operative turned millionaire shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Dima drives Kroll’s battered BMW, which Kroll currently lives out of after being kicked out of his house by his wife again, to the trade site: a rundown flat in lower Moscow. After arriving, Kroll asks if Dima wants to take his Baghira with him, as Dima is unarmed. He opts not to, saying they’ll probably search him and that coming unarmed will impress them. Kroll quips that he didn’t mention that he wanted to look like a “tough guy,” and waits at the car as Dima enters the flat.

Arriving at the apartment, Dima knocks and is greeted by two pistol muzzles, but is allowed in after showing the bag of money to the terrorists. The two Chechens search Dima while holding him at gunpoint, but are told to stop by the leader of the operation, Vatsanyev, an old Spetznaz comrade of Dima’s. Vatsanyev warmly greets Dima, hugging and kissing him on his cheeks, prompting Dima to tell him to at least “try to act like a terrorist” and not like his “great aunt.” For a moment, the two reminisce about their old days in service to the Soviet Union, but the two come back to the present and Vatsanyev brings out Katya, who is looking worse for wear. After convincing Vatsanyev to have his goons count the money, as he felt little reason to doubt his former comrade, Dima pretends to trip over the table in center of the room, and grabs the pistol one of the terrorists left on the floor. He quickly dispatches the two, and shoots Vatsanyev in the shoulder as he was reaching for a machine pistol on table.

Katya is no longer where Vatsanyev had left her, leading Dima to believe she had attempted to hide in the other room of the apartment. Suddenly, Vatsenyev’s sixteen year old daughter Nisha emerges from the room holding a knife to Katya’s throat. Hesitating for a second, Dima shoots and kills Nisha. Firing a last burst of gunfire into the room for good measure, Dima moves and picks up Katya.

A SWAT team then breaks into the room, weapons trained on Dima. He points them to Vatsanyev lying on the floor, and they then tell Dima he has to come with them to see GRU Director Paliov. Kroll enters and stands at the doorway, apologizing that he wasn’t able to warn Dima and asks if he wants him to take the money and Katya back to Bulganov. At the mention of the two, the SWAT officers begin eyeing the case of money and Katya, and Dima knocks the two out before they attempt to take either of them. Vatsanyev pleads with Dima to not let the police take him, and, after a brief moment, Dima nods and shoots him in the head.

Employment by the GRUEdit

After delivering Katya and the money back to Bulganov, Dima considers ignoring Paliov’s request, but out of curiosity as to why his “former masters had come asking for him,” he takes the GAZ the SWAT team came in to “The Aquarium”, the nickname for the GRU headquarters in Moscow. Waved through security due to the truck, Dima enters and visits Paliov. Paliov berates Dima for attacking the SWAT officers in “an unprovoked attack” and for killing Vatsanyev, saying he could’ve been a useful source, while Dima counters that he was cleaning Paliov’s agency of corrupt elements and they wouldn’t have been able to get anything out of the Chechen even if they’d tortured him. Secretary of Defense and Security Timofayev then enters, and excitedly welcomes Dima, while Paliov appears exasperated at his superior’s entrance. Timofayev tells Paliov to impress him with Dima’s “credentials”, and Paliov reviews some of Dima’s actions as a Spetznaz operative from his files: Originally posted in Paris to infiltrate the French interior ministry, Dima subsequently executed his station chief who was working for the British and was then transferred to Iran to train Revolutionary Guardsmen. After an assignment in the Bulkans, Dima was then sent to Afghanistan and developed a close rapport with the Mujahideen. Paliov also states how Dima was awarded both the Order of Nevsky and the Order of Saint Andrew, at which Timofayev muses that Dima was discharged because he was ‘’too’’ good.

Timofayev then attempts to convince Dima to return to the GRU with the promise of competitive payment, telling Dima he could finally reward himself for all his work. Dima is noticeably unimpressed, and Paliov informs Timofayev that Dima doesn’t care for “remunerative compensation.” Timofayev then tells Dima he’d be saving Russia, and they would need a genuine patriot like Dima to do it. This still has no effect, and Dima subsequently tells them that they have entire army of able soldiers to choose from and that he’s hungry, and promptly leaves the office. Paliov then tells Timofayev that Dima will not be swayed but anything they do, but Timofayev insists that no one is immune and that there must be “something to make him agree”. He orders Paliov to find whatever it is that will convince Dima immediately.

Plot differencesEdit

The plot of the novel is similar to the campaign portion of Battlefield 3, however there are some major differences:

  • Dima's past and motivations are explored more deeply. Most significantly, it is revealed that Dima has a son in Paris.
  • In "Operation Swordbreaker," Blackburn stabs a girl.
  • Kiril is replaced by a man named "Kroll" who later dies.
  • In the game, when Blackburn enters the pool room of Kaffarov's villa, Dima gets the drop on Blackburn, holding a pistol to him before explaining about Solomon and his plan. Dima then turns around with his hands on his head as Cole enters. No exchange is given between Cole, Blackburn, or Dima before Blackburn kills Cole. In the novel, Blackburn finds Dima, and interrogates him. When Cole arrives, Cole attempts to goad Blackburn into killing Dima before attempting to himself. However, he is still shot by Blackburn.
  • Vladimir from the mission Comrades doesn't get killed in action.
  • In the book, Dima leads the team instead of Vladimir (who lead the team in the game).
  • Dima stops the nuke from exploding inside Paris in the novel; instead of it detonating as it does in-game.


  • the author repeatedly uses the term "army" to describe Blackburn's branch, which is the Marine Corps (though the term "army" is frequently used by people to describe the military as a whole, it constitutes a grave error)
  • furthermore, the author made use of the word "soldier" frequently throughout the story, both in the 3rd person narrative as well as in dialogs and verbal exchanges between US Marines (i.e. between Cole and Blackburn), though as already noted the terms "army" and "soldier" aren't in any way a proper way to address the Marine Corps or a Marine and when addressed as soldiers, Marines would categorically reject being called as such
    • these errors might have arisen from the differences between the British and the US military (the author served in the former)


  1. 1.0 1.1 IGN Staff, 2011, EA Announces Battlefield 3 Novel by Consultant, Former SAS Operator Andy McNab, viewed 5 December 2013, <>.