Major Ivan Raidenovitch Raikov (or Раикофф in Russian), as you may have guessed from the name and face, was deeply inspired by MGS2's Raiden. In character, however, Raikov is not very similar to Raiden. Raikov is a hardened Russian warrior who is not afraid to use violence against his enemies and comrades alike. He also does not suffer from an annoying, backstabbing girlfriend by the name of Rose... in fact, he appears not to have a girlfriend at all. Major Raikov serves under Colonel Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin, who claims to know Raikov better than anyone else. Raikov has a highly effeminate voice (provided by Charlie Schlatter) and a love of everything edible. Like his commander, to identify a man, he will simply grab them at the groin until he recognises who is before him... what a strange man he is!
Major Raikov is located in the fortress of Groznyj Grad - the place where the Shagohod weapon is being constructed. He does very little other than walk around the East Wing of the Weapons Lab but is a target for Naked Snake. Snake needs to find the Shagohod's creator, a man named Director Nikolai Stephanovich Sokolov, but to get access to where Sokolov is being held, he needs to assume a different role. What with conveniently having a mask which is a spitting image of Raikov, all Snake needs to do is somehow obtain the young Major's uniform... and preferably his mannerisms, character and voice too, otherwise he may get found out!
Here are all the things you can hear our hero saying:
Naturally Raikov is very easy to impersonate, and you should never take a Raikov at face value - he's not necessarily who he says he is; in fact, some Raikovs don't speak at all. To discern whether the Ivan you see in front of you is genuine, provoke him into speaking. If he either refuses to speak or speaks without moving his lips, you can safely presume that he is wearing the world-famous Raikov mask (available from all good toy shops at only £5.99 in the UK, not sure about the US). Another way of finding out who that Ivan really is is to take the Volgin approach:
He's saluting Volgin? That's not a true greeting! This is a true greeting!
If you pass the Volgin challenge by responding correctly (however that may be) and/or wearing Raikov's special underwear, you will be rewarded by Volgin himself. Perhaps with a payrise... but probably something slightly more intimate than that. If you can locate "Volgin's room" anywhere on Groznyj Grad, then you are welcome to claim your reward from Volgin in person at the specified location (Volgin's room may indeed just be some obscure broom cupboard). However, if you fail Volgin's test, prepare to face the consequences and have the crap beaten out of you by Volgin... three times! It's a risk you've gotta take, if your name is Naked Snake.
Do you seriously believe Volgin just happened to be looking for Tatyana? Maybe he was... but maybe not. After being knocked senseless and stuffed into a locker, Major Raikov awakens to find his clothes are gone along with his dignity. Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! If they are engaged, call your superior/boyfriend and get him to sort out the nasty man who had the audacity to take your clothes! So there you have it - Raikov awoke in the locker, called Volgin and got him to sort out Snake for him. If Snake killed Raikov, then undoubtedly The Sorrow soon noticed there was a rather significant addition to the dead spirits of MGS3 and told The Boss who told Volgin. The consequence was still the same - Naked Snake got found out!
[WARNING: the following information is untrue unless proven otherwise - don't be gullible enough to believe everything you read - this theory was devised at 1am with two friends after playing MGS3 for hours!] It has been assumed that Raikov and Volgin are sexually attracted to one another. It has also be suggested that Volgin is bisexual due to his apparent sexual interest in both Raikov and Tatyana. This is all rubbish. Raikov is as straight as a ruler! Volgin does indeed love Raikov, but so does Snake. Raikov is in love with Tatyana. Tatyana loves Snake. Snake does not love Tatyana. Volgin pretends to love Tatyana so that she will become attracted to him and go off Raikov. Tatyana doesn't love Raikov anyway, but Volgin does not know this. Tatyana pretends to love Volgin so that she won't get hurt. She gets hurt anyway - sadism is Volgin's way of showing affection. It also happens to be his way of showing hatred. Volgin hates Snake because he knows Snake is after Raikov. Volgin goes after Snake and tries to scare him away from Raikov. Raikov uses this opportunity to go after Tatyana. Tatyana is summoned to Volgin's side. Raikov keeps his distance. Raikov is terrified of Volgin, knows he will never have Tatyana to love and commits suicide. Volgin jumps to the conclusion that Snake has killed Raikov and tortures Snake as a punishment. Snake escapes from Groznyj Grad entirely and The Sorrow shows him the ghost of the one he loved. Shortly afterwards Tatyana encounters Snake and tries to make Snake love her. Snake ignores Tatyana. From the severe depression caused by Raikov's death, Volgin commits suicide on the Shagohod. Snake and Tatyana cheer. Snake realises he and Tatyana share something in common (hatred of Volgin) and the end up loving each other. They should end happily ever after, but Tatyana leaves Snake after he calls her Raikov "by mistake". Snake now lives a very lonely life and has become evil and has decided to rule the world with Granin's amazing bipedal robot designs. This change of heart is all because of a young and innocent major by the name of Ivan Raidenovitch Raikov. [There! I hope you are seriously confused. Why not try drawing it out as some sort of diagram if you are finding this theory's plot hard to follow. It's not as difficult a plot as all the MGS games', surely!]
Thank you for reading my Raikov page! The adorable Raikov sprite is from the 'Volgin Union', a site I would love to be a part of, but unfortunately it's all in Japanese!
Some people love Raikov more than I do, believe it or not.
Here are two beautiful cosplays, which I salute: