"I am one of the supervisors, that's all you need to know!"
— Nikolai to Carlos Oliveira, about to kill him.
Nikolai Zinoviev (ニコライ・ジノビェフ,Nikorai Jinobyefu?, Russian: Николай Зиновьев), codenamed "Silver Wolf", is a Soviet Army veteran who served in Umbrella's paramilitary as a Sergeant in the UBCS as well as a Monitor. He and the USS commando, HUNK were considered to be "rivals", and he was a close friend of Col. Sergei Vladimir, of whom he may have served with in the Soviet Army.
Born in Moscow in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Zinoviev was likely conscripted into the Soviet Army in 1981, and its known to have served in one of its special forces brigades. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Zinoviev was retired and, along with many other former Soviet soldiers, was recruited by Umbrella.
Little is known of Zinoviev's career in the mid-1990s, though he was well-trusted by Col. Vladimir and knew of Umbrella's need for him in their Tyrant Project. Zinoviev served Umbrella and Col. Vladimir in two ways. Officially he was a Sergeant within the Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service, an anti-B.O.W. force. Unofficially, he was part of Col. Vladimir's internal affairs bureau and spied on the UBCS.
On 15 September 1998, the UBCS was put on alert by Umbrella HQ due to events in Raccoon City. When a t-Virus outbreak was confirmed, they were deployed, and arrived on the night of 26 September. The UBCS' orders were to kill the zombies and evacuate civilians. However, as a Monitor Sgt. Zinoviev was given additional orders to record their fight to confirm the viability of bioweaponry and use of zombies in military operations; destroy the Raccoon General Hospital, which was known to be the site of t-Vaccine research; and observe and record the Nemesis-T Type's actions. With each collection of information, Sgt. Zinoviev was expected to receive a monetary reward, with bonuses for additional operations.
During the operation itself, Cpt. Mikhail Victor's Delta Platoon suffered heavy casualties, leaving the two and Cpl. Carlos Oliveira after two days. To guarantee a means of escape, Sgt. Nikolai took command of the platoon and created a plan to repair a trolley and use it as a means of getting to the extraction helicopter at the St. Michael's Clock Tower. On the night of 28 September, the three met former S.T.A.R.S. officer Jill Valentine, who's Delta Force experience would provide much needed help. Though he recognised Valentine as one of Umbrella's targets for assassination, he also knew Nemesis-T Type had orders to kill her on sight. Concerned the creature would mistake him for one of Jill's allies and kill him as a secondary target, Sgt. Zinoviev abandoned the group soon after, allowing them to believe him dead and move on.
On 1 October, he reached Raccoon General Hospital, where he set up C-4 charges to destroy the entire building. There he met fellow Monitor Tyrell Patrick and attacked him, intent on gaining his own combat data. Later that morning, Sgt. Zinoviev aided in "Operation: Emperor's Mushroom", a UBCS mission at Raccoon University to capture the experimental Thanatos, or otherwise retrieve a blood sample for study. Zinoviev was able to extract a sample remotely, but it became enraged and killed the mercenaries. To obtain a bonus in its place, he assassinated Thanatos' creator, the traitorous Dr. Greg Mueller and destroyed the building with C-4 charges.
With his mission in the city complete, Sgt. Zinoviev visited a cabin in Raccoon Park which was used as an Umbrella communications room. There he received word that Umbrella could no longer delay American action in the city and that it would shortly be destroyed in a bombing. While leaving, he met Valentine again, who had repeatedly escaped the Nemesis-T Type. Though willing to kill her and get the bonus, he was stopped when a Grave Digger began burrowing beneath them and escaped. Sgt. Zinoviev fled to Incineration Disposal Plant P-12A, where he obtained a helicopter and escaped the city just before the bombing. His report was received by Umbrella's B.O.W. research teams and commented on.
The BradyGames strategy guide for Resident Evil CODE:Veronica features a report written by Nikolai to Umbrella, though it is non-canon and written by Dan Birlew. The report, dated 13 October 1998, details information gathered there during his mission, including included information regarding the Mansion Incident; the Special Tactics And Rescue Service's investigation of the Arklay Laboratory, and the subsequent destruction of the mansion facade. He correctly speculates on Albert Wesker faking his death to betray Umbrella. He informs Umbrella of the surviving S.T.A.R.S. members and his encounter with Jill, warning them that they are a grave threat to the corporation and should be eliminated.