Oleg Lopatin
Fictional Character
A World of Difference
POD: c 4,500,000,000 BCE;
Relevant POD: AD 1976
Type of Appearance: Direct POV
Nationality: Russian citizen of the Soviet Union
Religion: Atheist
Date of Birth: 20th century
Date of Death: 1989
Cause of Death: Molotov cocktail
Occupation: Chemist, Soldier, Cosmonaut

Oleg[1] Borisovich Lopatin was a Soviet cosmonaut, chemist, and KGB agent assigned to the Tsiolkovsky, the Soviet space shuttle which visited Minerva in 1989. While the majority of his crew had a cautious interest in cooperating with the American astronauts of the space shuttle Athena, Lopatin remained deeply distrustful of the Americans. As a KGB agent, he openly spied on all of his crewmates. Even the mission's commander, Colonel Sergei Tolmasov, was frequently forced to defer to Lopatin because the KGB had reasserted its political power since the death of Mikhail Gorbachev.

Like all male members of the Soviet crew, Lopatin was an occasional lover of the crew's only woman, Katerina Zakharova. He may have been abusive toward her.

Lopatin was a strict Marxist and believed that the principles of dialectical materialism applied universally. When he determined that the Soviets' host, domain-master Hogram, was a proto-capitalist and the Americans' host, domain-master Reatur, was a feudalist, and also that Hogram was planning a war against Reatur, he strongly supported giving as much assistance as possible to Hogram's army. When Hogram forced the Soviets to give his troops an AK-74 assault rifle, Lopatin volunteered to be their drill-master and to operate the rifle once the war began.

Lopatin accompanied Fralk's army across the Ervis Gorge and relished the idea of waging war against the Americans when they had no nuclear weapons. However, his radio malfunctioned in the floodwaters of the gorge while he crossed it with the Skarmer males, leaving him out of contact with the Tsiolkovsky. When Juksal killed Frank Marquard, Lopatin realized that the Americans would very likely blame him for the murder and was afraid that this could touch off an all-out war between the United States and the Soviet Union. He realized he had no choice but to defect to the Athena's crew and hope to set the record straight.

Lopatin attempted to flee the Skarmer camp under cover of darkness but was apprehended and was forced to go into battle alongside Fralk himself. Fralk confiscated his AK-74 and used it against Reatur's soldiers at the battle outside Reatur's castle. The American astronauts assumed Lopatin himself was using it, and sent Sarah Levitt to kill him with a Molotov cocktail slung from the Damselfly. Lopatin prevented Fralk from shooting at Levitt, but became collateral damage when Fralk was hit by the thrown weapon, and both died. Levitt was saddened that she had killed Lopatin when he was trying to help her. Brigadier Emmett Bragg told her that Lopatin was a hero.