Frank Castle has gone up against every kind of human filth you can think of, rapists, thieves, he’s fought the mob wherever it is and has always been as ruthless in dealing with them all.
The Punisher’s crusade against crime pitted him against The Gnucci crime syndicate during The Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank series which ran from April 2000 to March 2001. This series was used as a basis for the The Punisher (2004) film starring Thomas Jane, with some of the comic characters being brought directly to screen including: Joan the mouse, Mr. Bumbo, Spacker Dave, and The Russian.
While the plots of the comic and the 2004 film don’t match up exactly it’s easy to see where one ends and the other begins. In the film we see former WWE wrestler Kevin Nash portray “Ivan Vassilovitch Dragovsky” aka. The Russian, a hulking 8 foot 500 lbs behemoth of a man. A key enforcer for the Gnucci crime family, (in the film the Saint crime family), who attacks Frank at home nearly killing him.
The Russian has an incredible amount of strength and stamina, his limits aren’t precisely known even to himself. At one point even ripping a toilet from the ground and beating Frank with it. The fight drags on and eventually spills into another apartment, that of Mr. Bumbo, where Frank throws a fresh pizza at The Russian. Dragovsky is stunned for a second revealing his seemingly only weakness, extreme sensitivity to heat and light. Eventually Frank gets the best of The Russian and cuts off his head, using it to intimidate the Gnucci family.
Frank is severely beaten at the hands of The Russian who, during the fight, talks about his views on capitalism and American super heroes. While in the 2004 film, we see The Russian as a silent giant barely uttering a word and eventually being scolding with boiling water and thrown down a flight of stairs.
In the comics The Russian’s arch doesn’t end there, eventually being revived by another enemy of the Punisher, General Kreigkopf and is turned into a super soldier. His body augmented with metals and different high-tech implants rendering him impervious to injury.
With his new found abilities The Russian lives to fight his rival, The Punisher, while the two meet on a few occasions Punisher seems to always land on top. During one such battle The Russian throws Castle off the Empire State Building, but is ultimately defeated when Spider-man saves Punisher and joins in the fight.
The Russian’s arch presumably comes to an end when after a series of foiled terrorist attacks General Kreigkopf hijacks an atomic bomb plane. The Punisher manages to sneak aboard and straps the bomb to The Russian’s face then dropping the bomb on the general’s headquarters, the blast destroys the island and kills everyone on it. Punisher survives, flying off in the plane while it’s assumed The Russian is dead, although it’s plausible that because of his augments he could have survived.