Go back to school. Go back to your life. And the next time they ask you, say no. Killing is for grown ups and you are still a child
~ Yassen's warning to Alex about MI6

Yassen Gregorovich is an assassin and a villain in the Alex Rider series. He was responsible for killing Alex's uncle and Alex looks for him in the entire story for vengeance against Yassen.

He is portrayed by Damian Lewis in the film.


Yassen was born in Russia and had a rough childhood. His father died in a biochemical warface accident and his mother died in six months from an illness. He managed to become an successful assassin after he traversed the whole of Russia alone, with no money, and ended up in Moscow after he joined the Mafia. In his beginning, he worked with the Mafia in Moscow.

He later tracked down SCORPIA, the crime organization, and became a high ranking agent. Then he set off on his own as a freelance assassin. He was with John Rider, Alex's father, (unbeknown to Yassen, as part of John's MI6 cover in SCORPIA) when him and John killed a drug dealer in the Amazon. Then Yassen became even more powerful.

Malta incident

You should have stayed at home
~ Yassen before he severely injures Ash.

When Ash was ordered by Alan Blunt to head an operation in Malta to kill a drug lord who had annoyed his associates by swindling them, John Rider walked up to the drug lord and shot him, but then Yassen staged his ambush. He burst in with his hidden army and they had a huge battle in the Malta square, and during the height of it, Ash was determined to prove himself so he chased after Ash. After a tense stand off when they realized who each other was, Ash found himself admiring Yassen because even though he was only eighteen, he was very brave and emotionless. Yassen mocked Ash for his over confidence and sliced open Ash's stomach, leaving him in constant pain for the rest of his life.

Yassen was the primary reason for Ash's treachery.

The Stormbreakers

As Yassen's bank account was not backed up, he needed money, so he went to Herod Sayle, meeting the businessman in Crete where they exchanged contacts and arranged to kill half of Britain's children. Ian Rider, Alex's uncle, discovered this and knew of Yassen's involvement. He headed back to London after reporting back to MI6 but Yassen intercepted him on a quiet lane and gunned him down. The police later lied about Ian's death. But Alex, his nephew, investigated and was eventually recruited by MI6 into saving the country from the smallpox virus Sayle and Yassen had hidden in the Stormbreaker computers.

Yassen later killed Sayle at the end of the operation as the man had become too embarrasing. He and Alex shared a minor bonding moment where Yassen told him to go back to normality and forget about killing and MI6. He said "killing is for grown ups and you're still a child." So, he said he had no orders to kill Alex. It is in fact revealed in the prequel to Stormbreaker, Russian Roulette, that in fact, Yassen's superiors in SCORPIA had told him to kill all witnesses to Sayle's humiliating enterprise, including Alex. Yassen was in fact under orders to kill Alex... but he felt bad for killing children, so Yassen disobeyed his superiors and let Alex live, and he  expressed that he had no hate for the boy despite killing his uncle which, he explained, was just work for him. Yassen waved goodbye to Alex and flew off on a helicopter.

South of France and Damian Cray

I'm sorry, Mr Gregorovich, but you're fired!
~ Damian Cray betrays Yassen and kills him.

When Yassen was recruited by mad businessman Sir Damian Cray, things got bad. First, the bomb he had put in Edward Pleasure's house didn't kill Edward. What's more, Edward's daughter and her friend Alex saw the explosion and Alex Rider knew it was Yassen having seen him on the beach earlier. He tracked Yassen down and Yassen tried to kill Alex by leaving him in a bull ring but Alex escaped.

On his way out of the bull ring, Alex got a number he had memorized on Yassen's phone, calling the number, and knowing it was someplace in London. He phoned it and to his amazement Damian Cray answered and introduced himself as Damian Cray. Alex didn't know why a pop singer would be on the phone registry of a private assassin.

When Alex got into Cray's kingdom and discovered Cray was indeed at the heart of it all, Yassen was the only one who looked concerned when Alex was dragged off to be killed. He survived, however, and Yassen told Cray what he knew about the boy. He said that Alex was so useful to MI6 because he was a boy. Then he said that he was with Sabrina Pleasure, Edward's daughter, and Cray decided to kidnap her. Yassen had a bunch of men waiting for Alex when he came out of headquarters but Alex survived them all.

Alex went after Sabrina and Cray revealed his plan to blow up all the drugs headqaurters globally. Yassen would then retire to Moscow. But Alex sowed unrest between Cray and Yassen. He eventually did rebel against Cray, and it cost him his life when Cray gunned him down on Air Force One. Yassen repaid Ian Rider's debt by telling Alex about SCORPIA.


Known for his reputation of being the worlds greatest and deadliest assassin, Yassen is a composed, ruthless and cold-blooded albeit very complex man. He does not diverse emotion or show any remorse for the people he kills. So far the closest thing he to an outburst was when a workman accidentally dropped a crate of R5. After checking the crate for any damage he shoots the workman. This shows that Yassen's calm demeanour does have limits and that chemical warfare, the same that killed his parents in Etrov, is the only thing that Yassen fears.

Unusual for an assassin, Yassen does possess a code of honour. He refuses to kill children, even if his employers demand him to and this is what costs him his life at the hands of the madman, Damian Cray when he refuses to murder Sabina Pleasure and Alex Rider. Also, Yassen does understands the innocence of children and that the act of killing is not one to take lightly. For example after killing Herod Sayle he warns Alex to stay away from MI6, not wanting the teenage spy to become like him as he was forced into the world of killing and hoped that Alex would not share his fate. Sadly this chance was wasted as Alex felt no need to listen to the Russian because of the one-sided contempt of their relationship and was unaware of how much he owed Yassen.

He had little self-preservation, presumably because of the nature of his profession which assassins are not known to live long. Despite this he refuses to smoke or drink alcohol. After breaking into his former slaveholder's house, Vladimir Sharvosky he plays a lethal game of Russian Roulette (in a similar sense to what Sharvosky forced Yassen to play when he was fourteen but instead puts five bullets in the chamber and one empty). Also he shoots himself first and rather calmly, the obvious solution is that Yassen's emotional stress and loss has caused him to become somewhat suicidal.

To this day, Yassen's only loyalties are to John Rider and the debt he feels for his mentor which is extended to his son make him an extremely brave man. His affection for John was so strong that he defied his superiors orders to kill Alex Rider and covers this up by instead killing Herod Sayle. Yet despite his loyalty to John, Yassen also has feelings of resentment towards his mentor. He definitely trusted him like a brother and though he was forever in debt for saving his life he also felt betrayed after discovering that John was actually an agent of MI6. This became the source of his career as an assassin, to prove to John that he was wrong about his nature after which he killed hundreds of men. Despite this he might have lost his animosity towards John and admits to Alex on his deathbed that he did indeed love him and his father.

In his youth, Yassen lacked killer extinct. When trying to assassinate a target he made the mistake of conversing with her which leads her being killed by another Scorpia associate and couldn't bring himself to murder with a knife. The first man he did kill was his childhood tormentor, Sharvosky and his son, Ivan but this was after he played a game of Russian Roulette, knowing the only chance to not become a killer himself was death.