"Revolution sneaks up on you, one small step at a time. I don't take chances, even with the smallest of steps."
Viktor Petrov is the current President of Russia.
Petrov served as a soldier in the Soviet Army, spending a year deployed in Afghanistan. During his deployment he was shot twice by a member of the Mujahideen, but was able to kill the soldier with his rifle's bayonet. He later served as an agent with the KGB during the years of the Soviet Union, before entering politics after the fall of the USSR. It is suggested he has been in power since 2012, as he mentions that President Frank Underwood is the third President of the United States to hold office during his tenure. He also mentions to have been divorced recently.
Petrov arrives at the White House in May 2015 to negotiate with President Frank Underwood about a joint peacekeeping operation in the Jordan Valley. Immediately after his arrival, Petrov refuses Underwood's proposals. During a dinner at the White House held in his honour, Petrov is called out for selling half his country to oligarchs by members of Pussy Riot, who are the Underwoods' guests at the dinner. Throughout the dinner, he acts in a flirtatious manner towards Claire Underwood, later forcefully kissing her during a dance in the White House Residence. Petrov demands that only if the United States dismantles its air defences in Europe will Russia consider entering a joint operation. This is because Petrov see's American troop deployment to the Jordan Valley as detrimental to Russia's sphere of influence in the Middle East. When Frank Underwood refuses give into his demands, Petrov leaves D.C..
Following the failed summit, Petrov's government later arrest American LGBT activist Michael Corrigan in Moscow. Both Frank Underwood and Claire Underwood fly to Russia in order to secure his release. Once they arrive, Petrov will only agree to release Corrigan provided he make a televised speech denouncing the 'unnatural behaviour' he was promoting. Petrov later reveals to Underwood that he personally believes the homophobic laws are barbaric, saying that two of his cabinet ministers and his ex-wives' nephew, who is "like a son to him" are gay, but has introduced them on behalf of his people who he claims are rooted in religion and tradition.
When eight Russian peacekeeping troops are killed in an IED attack in the Jordan Valley, Petrov prevents UN troops from accessing the crash, heightening tensions with the US, Israel and Palestine. Russian Ambassador Alexi Moryakov suggests to Claire Underwood that Petrov and the FSB were responsible for the IED, as it would give Russia an excuse to leave the peacekeeping mission. Moryakov's uncovering prompts Frank Underwood to authorize a black-ops mission to determine the cause of the attack, but it fails when the Navy SEALS are shot at by Russian troops, killing one in friendly fire. This results in both Underwood and Petrov meeting in the Jordan Valley to negotiate. During the talks, Petrov reveals that the FSB 'false flag attack' in Jordan Valley was actually a ruse to lure the Americans into sending in the SEALs so that the U.S. would not only 'provoke' the Russians but also give Petrov leverage in the upcoming negotiations. Moryakov's earlier 'revelation' to Claire was merely a ploy in the greater scheme, serving as a catalyst for current events in Jordan Valley. Whether the deaths of the eight Russian soldiers were as a result of an actual terrorist attack or due to an FSB false flag attack, remains unclear. Petrov then demands that the operation will only continue if the U.S. dismantles its defences in the Czech Republic, and if Claire resigns as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Unable to negotiate, and with pressure mounting from Israel, Underwood agrees to Petrov's demands.
- Petrov is a thinly veiled reference to Vladimir Putin, the current President of the Russian Federation. Both Petrov and Putin share the initials VP, a history in the KGB, and are recent divorcees. Members of the agitprop group Pussy Riot have made the news in the past for talking against Putin, just as they did in the show against Petrov. Petrov also bears a slight resemblance to Putin as well. The major difference between them though is their physical appearance; whereas Putin is well-built and short, standing at 5'7", Petrov is clearly skinny and tall with actor Lars Mikkelsen standing at 6'4."