During the late 1950's or early 1960's, Arkady Gregorivich Rossovich served in the USSR's Spetsnaz (border patrol commandos), secretly raping & murdering young girls whenever the opportunity presented itself. While assigned to a remote Siberian town, Rossovich's crimes were discovered, & his fellow soldiers attempted to execute him via a gunshot to the head. His mutant nature allowed him to survive the wound, &, after a formal court-martial, he was drafted into the USSR's super-soldier project, undergoing various torturous enhancements, which, among other effects, turned his skin chalk-white. By 1968, Rossovich, now dubbed Omega Red, was stationed in Berlin, East Germany, where the USSR transformed him into a cyborg via implanted retractable tentacles of radioactive Carbonadium (a less durable but more malleable imitation of Adamantium), created by a Carbonadium Synthesizer, or "C-Synth." However, before his transformation was complete, the C-Synth, needed to stabilize the interface between his mutant powers & his bionic implants, was stolen by Team X members Wolverine (Logan/James Howlett), Sabertooth, & Maverick (Christoph Nord). Eventually Wolverine hid the C-Synth in the grave of Janice Hollenbeck, a double agent slain by Omega Red.
Despite the C-Synth's theft, the USSR continued employing Omega Red as a super-operative in the KGB (Komitjet Gosudarstvjennoj Bjezopasnosti/Committee for State Security), using him against, among others, friends & family of the mutant Katu Kath, whose powers disrupted Soviet satellite transmissions. Without additional Carbonadium poisoning or death by his own spores; he was thus required to drain life force from any available victims to survive. Although a murderer many times over, Red hated being unable to select his victim & kill them at leisure as he had while a serial killer. At some point he was, at least in his estimation, betrayed by fellow KGB agent Olinka Barankova. Eventually, he escaped custody & partially reverted to his pre-mutated appearance. He committed several murders throughout Europe before Interpol agent Sean Cassidy (later Banshee), assisted by "Eric Lehnsherr" (Max Eisenhardt, later Magneto), tracked him to Ireland. Aware that the Russian government would experiment on him further if captured, Red invited Cassidy to kill him; when Cassidy refused, red unleashed death spores upon Cassidy's associate, Inspector Magrite Deveraux, who fell to her death despite Cassidy's efforts. Enraged, Cassidy shot Red several times, disabling , but not killing him. Red was returned to Russian custody, his crimes concealed by government deceptions, but his continued inability to fully contain his death spores ultimately led his andlers to place him in suspended animation.
In recent years, Japanese criminal Matsuo Tsurayaba, hired by the Fenris twins (Andrea & Andreas Strucker), used 20 Hand ninjas to sacrifice themselves & mystically revive Omega Red. Fenris sent Red after the X-Men, & he captured several, including Wolverine, a victory the twins hoped would cement their place in the power-seeking Upstarts cabal. Eager for revenge on the former Team X member, Red battled Wolverine for hours, ultimately weakening him enough to be contained & mind-probed. Matsuo, per his bargain with Red, searched Wolverine's memories for information on the C-Synth, which Red still sought to remove his vampiric need for life force. Maverick, having learned of these developments, penetrated Fenris' base, & when Wolverine escaped, joined forces with him. Following a battle with the freed X-Men, Red retreated, Wolverine & Maverick subsequently prevented Matsuo from recovering the C-Synth, & Wolverine entrusted its safety to Maverick.
Weeks later, Omega Red resurfaced in Russia, where fellow mutant Soul Skinner, seeking revenge against the government, mentally enslaved him along with several inhabitants of the town Neftelensk. Coincidentally, the X-Men also arrived in Russia seeking their associate Magik (Illyana Rasputin), imprisoned by a government faction. Under Soul Skinner's control, Red fought the X-Men, but when Skinner was apparently slain by Colonel Alexi Vazhin, Red departed, seeing no benefit in continued conflict. Evidently having acquired secret data while in Russia, Red searched for Olinka Barankova, whom he believed had been transformed into telepathic mutate MODAM. His search led him to AIM, where he interrupted a battle between Iron Man (Tony Stark) & MODAM, who had no memories of their supposed shared past. Iron Man defeated both combatants.
Relocating to England, Omega Red resumed his serial killer habits until Magneto's Acolytes, including Red's former victim, Katu, offered a cure his life-force addiction in exchange for joining their cause. After acquiring the necessary information, Red betrayed the Acolytes & gathered the cure's components on his own, battling Cable (Nathan Christopher Charles Summers aka Nathan Dayspring Askani'son) in the process. At the Acolytes' Arctic base, Red prepared for his transformation, not caring that the procedure would unleash his body's death spores across Earth, but Katu teleported Red & himself away, ending the treatment. Resurfacing in Ireland, Red targeted Sean Cassidy, now headmaster to Generation X as Banshee, but was defeated by Cassidy's student Chamber (Jonothan Starsmore). Escaping again, Red targeted yet another longtime adversary, Maverick, still possessing the C-Synth. Although stricken with the Legacy virus, Maverick, aided by fellow Team X alumnus John Wraith, trapped Red in an abandoned Weapon X facility, & Wraith manipulated military airplanes into bombing the base. Surviving, even this onslaught, Red temporarily set aside his grudges & became a mercenary. Employed with other Russian super-agents in General Tskarov's capitalist schemes, he fought Daredevil (Matt Murdock) & Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff) but was defeated.
When Sabertooth went on a killing spree, news reports of his actions drew Omega Red's attention &, vengeful once more, he battled his old foe for the first time in decades. Red planned to us his death spores to weaken Sabertooth's healing factor & enslave him as a bargaining tool in regaining the C-Synth, believed to be held by Elana Ivanova, a mutant seeking vengeance on Sabertooth. Ultimately, however, Sabertooth was too ferocious even for Red, who was forced to flee for his life. Subsequently hired by crimelord Ivan Pushkin, Red joined Pushkin's efforts to provoke war between the terrorist groups Hydra & AIM while stealing their resources for himself. When Maverick intervened, however, Red abandoned the endeavor to again pursue both vengeance & a chance at the C-Synth. Pushed from a mountaintop in battle with Maverick, he again survived.
In a rare bout compassion, Omega Red renewed his alliance with both Acolytes & the Fenris twins, along with Pyro (St. John Allerdyce), Avalanche (Dominic Petros), & Feral (Maria Callasantos), to seek a cure for the Legacy virus, which had infected a number of Russian mutants. Believing the High Evolutionary's Isotope E to be such a cure, red & his associates battled their quarry's defenders, Quicksilver & the Knights of Wundagore, but the encounter ended with Red & the others bound in his coils, the Acolytes abandoning them to their fate. Unable to cure his countrymen, red returned to Russia & to government service. When the government lost control of Province 13's experimental mutant children, red hunted the most dangerous escapees, again battling the X-Men in the process.
Later, Omega Red entered organized crime as an enforcer for the General, formerly a high-ranking KGB official. Sabertooth recruited Red & cyborg Lady Deathstrike to attack Wolverine's friends & family, & Red, hating Wolverine even more than he hated Sabertooth, agreed to join forces against their common enemy. After luring Wolverine into a trap, however, Sabertooth teleported away with him, denying Red & Deathstrike their vengeance. Rather than dwell on the incident, Red used resources acquired in the General's service to become New York's Red Mafia kingpin, reveling in political & corporate power. When Maverick, as Agent Zero, hunted Sabertooth for his betrayal of & theft from the latest Weapon X Project, Red, not recognizing his longtime enemy, provided information on Sabertooth's whereabouts, exacting revenge on his betrayer, but otherwise seemed willing to abandon his vendettas for his new ventures.
Although less troubled by his death-spore condition than before, Omega Red apparently realized he might eventually worsen until even the C-Synth could not help him. Believing a Korean bioweapons firm could provide a cure, he searched for the firm's ironic price, the C-Synth itself, as did Wolverine for his own reasons. Wolverine located Maverick, but Red attacked both men. Learning Maverick had left the device with the Black Widow in Germany, Wolverine was forestalled by SHIELD agents, who captured Red in a gel-like substance. Briefly held by SHIELD, Red was extradited & subjected to inhumane experimentation in the famous Red Room, much as he had been by the KGB so many years before. His healing factor enhanced, Red fought Wolverine & his fellow X-Men Colossus (Piotr Rasputin) & Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner) when they too were captured by the Red Room. Defeated once more, he was re-imprisoned by SHIELD.
Most recently, Omega Red was transferred to Vutluga Prison in Russia, where Wolverine eventually arrived during his search for Romulus. Red attacked him, having been placed there through Romulus' machinations, & he used the other prisoners as a resource to drain while he fought Wolverine. Wolverine used the C-Synth to position Red beneath some prison gates, that he released, trapping Red when they slammed down. Red escaped shortly after, & tracked the C-Synth & Wolverine to the Hughesovka Ironworks #5, still in Russia, where he was held captive by the mutant, Wildchild. He went after the C-Synth, piercing Wildchild through the throat with one of his coils & cast him into a cauldron of molten iron. Wolverine had already escaped by crawling through the hot liquid metal & reached St. Petersburg, Russia 2 days later to receive the Muramasa Blade, a sword forged with all Wolverine's rage, sent by request from another old foe & secret agent Black Widow. Wolverine used the sword to presumably kill Omega Red.