Born in the Soviet Union on the cusp of World War II, Vikhor Kuzmin was a bright child and a promising student. He graduated from the Mendeleev Institute of Chemical Technology’s Faculty of Technology of Organic Substances and Pharmaceutical Chemistry in 1959.
As one of the division’s top undergraduate students, he was recruited by the KGB Operations and Technology Directorate to work within their Laboratory 12 R&D facility.
Unknown to the West until much later in the Cold War, this laboratory was notorious for developing poisons and bioweapons, often testing them on human subjects.
Becoming an expert on chemical weapons during the six years he worked at the facility, Kuzmin helped discover how to re-synthesize deadly Nova 6 gas based on the samples recovered by the Red Army toward the end of World War II.
With Cold War tensions rising, the decision was made to create a stockpile of Nova 6, and Kuzmin’s experience and track record marked him as an obvious candidate to manage the secret production facilities on Rebirth Island.
For three years, he reported directly to Colonel Kravchenko as the island toiled to manufacture and test the deadly gas. But in early 1968, Rebirth Island’s facilities and their purpose were discovered by the CIA.
Acting swiftly, the CIA raided the remote complex in February of 1968 and despite mounting a fierce defense of the island, Kuzmin was captured. Interrogated by Agent Russell Adler, Kuzmin gave up nothing more than his name and rank. Frustrated, and eager to send a message to Kuzmin’s boss, Kravchenko, Adler cut out Kuzmin’s left eye, but he still would not break.
Following a brief hearing after his return to Moscow, Kuzmin was found guilty of dereliction of duty for failing to prevent the American raid. Kravchenko stripped him of his rank before sending him to the Petropavlovsk Gulag.
In captivity, a dark desire for vengeance against Adler and Kravchenko grew in Kuzmin, now nicknamed “Stitch” by the gulag guards after the angry scar on his face. The State to which he had been loyal had abandoned him, and the American had cost him everything.
Over the next five years, Stitch had plenty of time to nurture that rage – to focus and fan the embers into a fiercely incandescent flame.
In 1976, an attack on this Gulag by unknown operatives left many guards and prisoners dead. In the aftermath, Stitch’s body could not be found.
His whereabouts would remain a mystery until Adler, investigating the aftermath of Perseus’s daring raid on a nuclear silo during the climax of Able Archer ’83 exercise started to turn up whispers of his involvement with the operation.
Unfortunately for Adler, he was unaware that he was hunted and not the hunter. After mounting a deadly assault on his CIA safehouse, Stitch lured Adler and his team into a trap within a New Jersey mall, revealing himself amid dozens of Nova 6 canisters ready to be deployed around the world.