Kombayn Nikoladze in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell.
|Died||November 13, 2004|
Presidential Palace, T'Bilisi, Georgia
|Cause of death||Shot by Sam Fisher with an SC20K|
|Occupation||President of Georgia|
Kombayn Nikoladze (1943–2004) was the former President of Georgia and the primary architect of the Georgian Information Crisis in 2004. A charismatic leader who was able to mobilize Georgia and engineered a revolution in information warfare, Nikoladze employed multiple high-profile individuals, such as Vyacheslav Grinko and Philip Masse to help in his cause. Kombayn Nikoladze was assassinated in 2004 by Splinter Cell Agent Sam Fisher at the height of the crisis.
A charismatic and powerful industrialist, Nikoladze was elected President over Georgia in a "bloodless coup [d'état]" following the assassination of the previous President in what appeared to be a suicide bomb attack committed by Abkhazian separatists. Nikoladze used his political, technological, and extensive financial resources (from oil) to seize power and establish himself as the newly appointed President.
Nikoladze immediately led an intense modernization of the former Soviet republic, which saw a wide-ranging technological revolution sweep the nation. Quickly winning the blessing of NATO leaders, Nikoladze lobbied for stronger relations with the United States, while also boosting his country's economy and military.
Nikoladze hid a hatred of the U.S. beneath his pro-Western democratic facade. In order to strike against the U.S., he instigated an information crisis to cover up his invasion of Azerbaijan in order to seize the country's vast oil resources. He employed ex-Soviet mercenary Vyacheslav Grinko to retrain the Georgian Military in covert warfare due to his Spetsnaz experience, and Canadian computational theorist Philip Masse to run the information crisis. While conducting his covert military campaign, Masse employed complex techniques of information warfare to disable intelligence systems and radars. This effectively prevented either NATO or the United Nations from intervening on Azerbaijan's behalf. The result was a bloody campaign that left thousands dead, with thousands more becoming refugees by the time Georgia had nearly occupied the entire country. When Sam Fisher infiltrated the Georgian Ministry of Defense, he intercepted a conversation between Masse and Grinko via laser microphone; Masse stated that the Azerbaijan operation was running smoothly, but Nikoladze insisted on keeping records of it on his personal computer. After obtaining the data from Nikoladze's office, Third Echelon realized that Georgian commandos had nearly overthrown the oil-rich country. After this was forwarded to the President of the United States, war was immediately declared against Georgia.In the days that followed, NATO pushed Georgian commandos out of Azerbaijan and subsequently occupied Georgia. Nikoladze then went into hiding, along with his top military advisors. A webcast on the news showed Nikoladze shouting threats towards the U.S. and its allies, declaring that they were helpless to defend themselves against potential threats. This threat was made very clear when he ordered Masse to launch highly-advanced information warfare algorithms to strike at the U.S. This incident was reported in the news and officially declared the "Georgian Information Crisis". These attacks were first targeted towards the military, computer systems, transportation, and other electronic infrastructures. Dozens of U.S. soldiers and civilians died nationwide as a result of these attacks, and the destruction of such vital infrastructure badly crippled basic services in the nation. Nikoladze continued to mock the U.S., saying it was helpless and that if troops were not withdrawn from Georgia, the war against the U.S. would continue.
Nikoladze knew all too well that a head-on collision with the U.S. in a war was almost suicidal. Instead, he dispersed multiple cells of the Georgian Army across the globe and made imminent plans to launch a devastating strike. Some of these cells were inserted into the United States, with at least one discovered to have been operating from the shadows in Langley, VA. After making a backroom alliance with rogue Chinese General Kong Feirong, who was the spearhead of a corrupt splinter faction within the People's Liberation Army, Nikoladze's commandos seized nuclear material from a power plant in the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and exchanged it for weapons and munitions. Kong Feirong led his troops in a siege of the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar, near the slaughterhouse where captured U.S. soldiers were being held captive. The Chinese ambassador to Myanmar and the dignitaries were also sent to the slaughterhouse, where they endured starvation and torture. The seized nuclear material was transported to the embassy where Kong Feirong's men converted it for military use. When suspicions arose that China was secretly providing assistance to the Georgian regime in their war against the U.S., fears of the outbreak of World War III ran high.
As a further act of defiance against the U.S., Nikoladze announced on the Internet that the U.S. soldiers being held hostage by his men would be executed live on the web. Fearing this would push the world into war, Third Echelon deployed Sam Fisher to rescue the soldiers before this could occur. Fisher infiltrated the slaughterhouse, known as "Mouke Tsoe Bo Meats", and disrupted the executions' broadcast. Realizing that the Americans were present, Nikoladze fled back to Georgia with his men while Grinko stayed behind to resume the executions. However, Fisher found the soldiers and the Chinese diplomats, the latter of whom informed Fisher of Feirong's rogue status. In the firefight that followed, Fisher killed Nikoladze's men and Grinko himself after the two faced off one-on-one, effectively stopping the executions. Fisher then returned to the Chinese Embassy where he destroyed the trucks carrying Feirong's nuclear materials. Fisher then interrogated Feirong, who had taken a fatal overdose of poisoned liquor in an act of suicide and forced him to divulge the evidence of his alliance with Nikoladze. With his major ally removed and peace restored between the U.S. and China, Nikoladze was seemingly defeated. However, Nikoladze had already smuggled a SADM ('Special Atomic Demolition Munition' or nuclear suitcase bomb) codenamed 'The Ark' into Washington.
Following the defeat of his Information Warfare campaign, Nikoladze attempted to gain immunity with newly-appointed Georgian President Varlam Cristavi. Cristavi, through a secret interrogation of one of Nikoladze's high-ranking commandos, learned of Nikoladze's motives. As Nikoladze attempted to gain the access "key" to "The Ark", Georgian Special Forces opened fire on his personal guards. After the melee, Sam Fisher covertly interrogated Nikoladze. Nikoladze, true to his cause to the very end, was defiant; nonetheless he was needed alive to access the retinal scanner containing the 'key'. Upon gaining access, Cristavi's loyal troops stormed the underground cellar demanding Nikoladze hand over the 'Ark'. He stated that this would only be done if his life was spared. They agreed and escorted him to Cristavi's office, located above the courtyard. While speaking with Cristavi, Nikoladze walked in front of a window, completely exposed to outside observers. Fearing the consequences of leaving Nikoladze alive with his knowledge of the Ark, Irving Lambert ordered Fisher to take this opportunity to assassinate Nikoladze. Fisher fired a single shot into his head, killing Nikoladze instantly. Fisher then escaped with the 'key' to the 'Ark', ending the threat Nikoladze posed against the United States. The official report was that Nikoladze had been fatally shot by palace guards in a failed attempt to oust President Cristavi.
Due to the mysterious circumstances of his death, sightings and rumors of his survival were heard for years after. It was this that led the Joint Chiefs to order the apprehension of the Indonesian terrorist leader Suhadi Sadono instead of his assassination during the events of 2006. As Lambert told Fisher, as he was about to deploy to capture Sadono, the continued rumors of Nikoladze's survival had taught them that assassinated terrorist leaders made for stubborn ghosts.
Kombayn Nikoladze was described as a charismatic and powerful industrialist, which is seen by his ability to rally the nation of Georgia in his conquest to not only deceive America, but also invade Azerbaijan without the UN knowing about it. Knowing that information was key to victory, Nikoladze was able to confuse America with information crisis to cover up the invasion into Azerbaijan. Nikoladze was able to still show himself as an 'all politician' individual in much of the media, covering up his ties to questionable people and organizations, like Vyacheslav Grinko and the Russian Mafioso. Nikoladze is skilled in deception, even while being held prisoner, he was able to trick the Georgian Elite into believing that Sam Fisher, who infiltrated the Georgian Presidential Palace, had possession of the key to 'The Ark'.
- Strangely enough, Nikoladze was given a name that simply means "grain harvester", or "combine" in Russian — the language that was, without a doubt, a first language both for him and his parents, as they were Soviet-born. It may be noted that, aside from a tongue-in-cheek parody of the awkward names that are sometimes given to post-Soviet villains, he may very well be named after a harvester. In the early Soviet Union (though less so later), it was not uncommon for some parents fiercely devoted to Marxism-Leninism to call their children, for example, Dazdraperma (acronym for "Hail To The First of May"), Vladilen (acronym for Vladimir Ilich Lenin) or Barrikad (Barricade). Therefore, if Kombayn's parents were especially devoted and inspired kolkhoz workers, they could very well have named him that.
- Judging from his date of birth, Nikoladze died when he was about 61 years old.
- In the final cutscene of the Xbox version, Nikoladze is erroneously reported to have lived from 1943 to 2003, whereas the game actually takes place in 2004.
- In Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, the player can see a cigarette still burning in an ashtray sitting on Kombayn Nikoladze's desk, indicating that he smoked. Indeed, during his meeting with Varlam Cristavi, he asks for a cigar.
- Two male bodyguards wearing black suits can be seen standing next to Nikoladze during his webcasts, but they don't appear anywhere else in the game.
- He was mentioned by his Georgian supporters in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Echoes.