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Dominika Vasilyevna Egorova is one of the main protagonists in Red Sparrow Trilogy by Jason Matthews. She became a spy for Russian intelligence service (SVR) after a severe injury on her feet ruined her prodigious career as a ballerina.

BiographyEdit

Early life Edit

Dominika Egorova was born in Moscow, only child of professor Vassily Egorov and former musician Nina Egorova. Since very young Dominika was interested in music and dancing, at age 5 she could memorize and hum Tchaikovsky songs. Her talent got the attention of her parents who later found out by a psychologist that Dominika had synesthesia attributs, which means she could see colors on sounds, letters or numbers.

Life as a Ballerina Edit

At age 10, Dominika applied to a position for the Moscow State Academy of Choreography. Although she didn't have any technique or fomal education, her intense performance impressed the juries and convinced them she had a natural gift for ballet. As a dedicated student and passionate patriot, Dominika had excellent grades till the very end of her education and was very active in the political studies at the Academy. At 18 years old she became the coordinator of the political studies of her group, which bothered her parents.

In her early twenties, Dominika was chosen as the leading dancer of her class. By that time she got used to the colors of her synesthesia and was prepparing for the annual audition for Bolshoi Ballet. Her unanimous talent got the attention of Sonya Moroyeva, a 22 years old ballet student who craved for a promotion. Intending to sabotage Dominika's career, Sonya convinded her boyfriend Konstantin to injure Dominika's foot at their regular practicing. When working in pairs, Konstantin intentionally stepped hard on Dominika's foot, causing a Lisfranc Injury that paralyzed her career. Dominika realized the accident was actually planned by Sonya thanks to the girl's guilty face, but she decided not to delate the couple.

Right after this catastrophic event, Dominika was surprised once again. This time, the bad news was not related to her career. Vassily Egorov had an CVA and died on his way to the hospital. Attending her father's funeral in the Egorov's apartment, Dominika met her uncle Vanya. Vanya Egorov wasn't close to his brother or his family, but he offered Dominika a job for the Secret Service (SVR). In exchange, Vanya promised their apartment wouldn't be taken from her mother, now a widow. Dominika considered the offer outrageous given their situation, but she accepted it without knowing any details about the job.
Dominika-and-konstantin red-sparrow-film

Dominika and Konstantin were dancing partners at the ballet academy.

Two days later, Dominika went back to the academy to talk to the doctor and take her belongings. She was no longer a ballerina of Moscow State Academy of Choreography. Sitting in a bench, she saw Sonya and Konstantin heading to the steam room. Dominika realized the rumors about their relationship were true, so she followed the couple seeking for revenge. She knew sexual intercourses were prohibited at the academy, so she got the staff's attention by opening a window and turning the lights on. A few minutes later, the governess caught Sonya and Konstantin naked on the steam room. Dominika felt proud of her successful revenge, yet surprised by her own cold blood.

Life as a spy Edit

Dominika's first job for the SVR was a black operation (secret operation not attributable to the organization performing it) to perform the assassination of Dimitri Ustinov, a billionaire politician whose interests were in conflict with the state's. Dominika didn't know Ustinov was going to be killed, in fact, little she knew about the operation. She was sent by the SVR to a television station purporsely to meet Ustinov and get a date with him. She successfully got a date with the man on a fancy restaurant, being told that the main objective of the operation was to obtain relevant information about his schedules and contacts. Dominika knew sexual encounters were a implicit demand of the job so she managed to keep Ustinov interested in her; it didn't take long for him to take Dominika to his home. The two were laying on Ustinov's rotative bed, being him on top of her, when a man wearing black slowly desdended from the room's skylight. The assassin, who Dominika found out later to be Sergey Matorin, strangled Ustinov using a wire, leaving Dominika covered in blood.

Dominika-and-ustinov red-sparrow-film

Dominika and Ustinov right before his murder.

The event was completely traumatic to Dominika, who've became witness of a political assassination executed by the SVR and who couldn't avoid expressing her indignation to Vanya. Her uncle planned to give Dominika a minor bureaucratic job at the SVR so they could keep eyes on her, otherwise she would be killed as well. But Dominika herself explained that she rather be an intelligence officer instead. Vanya didn't like the idea at first, but thinking how he could take advantages of the potentional success of his niece, he accepted it.

Dominika entered the Academy of Foreign Intelligence (AVR) and started her training period to become an intelligence officer. There, she had theorical classes about the history of Russia, about secret services, Cold War and the URSS. Being the only woman out of 13 students, Dominika had to share the location's single bathroom with her male coleagues. One day, during her bath, one of them tried to rape her in the shower. Being forced against the wall, she remembered that the water tap of the shower was loose, so she managed to take it and used it to hit the man on his eye. The student was expelled, and even though Dominika's reaction was considered self-defense, the academy council cogitated expelling her from the academy as well. Vanya Egorov used his influence to intervene in the counsil's decision and Dominika continued her studies at the academy, but from that moment on, her coleagues started to ignore Dominika and call her a "hysterical woman" (klikusha).

Later she was sent to the practical classes, which consisted of simulations of meeting with agents as well as how to create strategies of recruitment and writing codefied messages. Dominika was a dedicated student, always showing a lot of energy, she had great physical capacity as well as a great memory for details regarding the operations. She learned how to operate in the streets of Yasenevo with retired coaches who admired her for her quick movements. She was also trained in psychology of collecting data with an instructor called Mikhail, with whom she had a brief affair.

Close to its end, Dominika's training was interrupted by her uncle Vanya, who suddenly revealed she was

Dominika-arriving-at-kon red-sparrow-film

Dominika arriving at the Sparrow School.

going to be sent to a different training program so she could join an operation leaded by Colonel Simyonov (chief of the Fifth Department). She was curious to know about her new training, but soon she felt outraged when she realized she was going to be a student of the Kon Institute, also known as the Sparrow School. The training program of the Sparrow School consisted of long lectures on anatomy, physiology and psychology of the human sexual response. Students also learned about hundreds of sex positions and movements and had practical classes on how to behave, which included how to walk, how to dress and how to elicit information during conversations.

During her training period at the Sparrow School, Dominika developed a friendship with her colleague Anya. Anya was the most vulnerable trainee as she couldn't cope with the toughest aspects of the training that demanded exposure and sexual encounters. Dominika became a supportive figure to Anya, but the girl succumbed to the pressure of the school and commited suicide, which made Dominika feel quite guilty.

Right after finishing her training at the Sparrow School, Dominika started her career as a junior intelligence officer at SVR's Fifth Department. Her objective was to elicit information from Simon Delon, first secretaty in the Commercial Section of the Embassy of France in Moscow. Reading the operation's files, Dominika realized the case was weak considering that the target couldn't give information of much importance, causing a possible waste of time and budget. General Korchnoi, whom she met at the Fifth Department, encouraged Dominika and gave her an important clue regarding the target's daughter. Dominika tried to convince the operation staff that it would be more effective to use Simon Delon as a bridge to reach his daughter Cécile, who worked at the Defense Ministry and could provide potential military information. However, feeling affronted by Dominika, Simyonov rejected her idea and constantly tried to humiliate her in front of other officers; in his mind, she was there only to seduce Simon Delon and not to interfere with the operation's progress. During the operation, Dominika convinced Delon to show her many confidential files, but before she could create a connection to his daughter, Simyonov finished the operation abruptly due to his sturbberness.

With the operation closed and Delon back to France due to his dalliance, Vanya promised Dominika a real operational mission this time. But it woulnd't be that easy though, as the condition was that she worked as a Sparrow one last time before heading to "glamorous Finland", otherwise her mother would not receive the medical service she needed. Dominika unwillingly accepted the job and headed to the Chaliapin Bar to meet her new asset: US Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Audrey Rowland, living in Moscow with a group of students. Since the assigned Raven (male version of Sparrow) didn't get any results approaching Rowland, the targeteers quickly called for a Sparrow so they could recruit Audrey Rowland as a mole as soon as possible.

In the bar, Dominika had a short conversation with Audrey and convinced her to sneak into a luxurious room, making her believe that a chambermaid at the hotel gave her a passkey. After seducing Rowland and doping her with benzodiazepine, Dominika left the room without looking back, passing by the recruiter who would patiently wait for the asset to wake up. The SVR now had video evidence of Audrey Rowland's sexual life and would use it to blackmail the woman.

Becoming a double agent Edit

Assigned by Vanya Egorov and Alexei Zyuganov (chief of the counterintelligence division of the SVR), Dominika was now in her first operation abroad. Her mission was to approach Nathaniel Nash, a CIA officer operating in Helsinki. This time, her goal was not to recruit the target as an agent for Russia, but to develop a trust relationship in order to discover who was the russian mole working with him. She moved to a small apartment in Helsinki and started her research on the new target. Her new boss, the Chief of Station in Helsinki was Maxim Volontov, who kept rushing her to get a date with Nash.

Dominika-meets-nate

Dominika talks to Nate for the first time.

Luckly, Dominika realized Nate Nash was a recurrent user of the same public pool she attended, the Yrjonkadun Swimming Hall. She would watch him arriving at the pool from the Torni Hotel so she could meet him and swim together every week. She increased their intimacy gradually through the weeks, until Nate decided to invite her to have wine in a bar. The dates became more frequent, but Volontov and the superiors at the SVR weren't happy with her progress. During that period, Nate told her that he was busy at work and would be away for two weeks. She knew what that meant; he would be meeting his mole. Dominika tried to ignore her transgressive feelings, but she chose to omit this important information from her report. She liked Nate and didn't want to ruin his career. Besides, that was the only way she found to avenge for the misfortunes of her life, imposed by her superiors.

[more to be added]

Physical description Edit

As described in the novels, Dominika has an athletic and elegant body, thanks to her early life as a ballerina. She has dark brown hair, full lips and blue cobalt eyes. As described in the third book, Dominika has a "classic Hellenic face" with heavy eyebrows, high cheekbones and a straight jaw.[1] Working as an spy, Dominika often wears social blouses and skirts. The hair is usually tied on the top of the head. Although in the movie adaptation Dominika appears blond at some point, that actually doesn't happen in the Red Sparrow book. The changes on her hair color might be related to the fact that Jennifer Lawrence is a natural blond.

Synesthesia Edit

Dominika's synesthesia attributes have a beneficial effect on Dominika's intuition and consequently in her work as a spy. She is able to read people's emotions thanks to the colors she sees around their heads. These sorts of halos usually appears as yellow, blue or purple. These colors can vary its intensity according the character's state of mind. Although her synesthesia is not mentioned in the film, it is actually referred to when Dominika tells Nate that, as a kid, she used to see colors while dancing. 

About the synesthesia, author Jason Matthews says:

I felt Dominika needed another dimension so I researched and found synesthesia as a way for her to read colors and moods. Synesthesia is a real condition but does not include seeing colors around people's heads. [2]

Colors Edit

Yellow: The most recurrent color Dominika sees in people's auras. Yellow is often associated to treachery, deceit, greed, frustration and anger. Vanya and Simyonov have yellow halos.

Purple: This color inspire positive feelings to Dominika. It is associated to honesty and calm. She sees this colors in her father, Nate and Korchnoi.

Blue: It is a sensitive, artistic, soulful color. Characters such as Tom Forsyth, Anya, and Putin has blue auras.

Red: The color of passion, Dominika sees it when listening to music. Marta Yelenova also had a red aura.

Black: Associated to evil, this color rarely appears in people's halos. Dominika sees it in Zyuganov's aura, which makes her feel terrified at first.

Green: Dominika associates this color to fear.

ReferencesEdit

  1. The Kremlin's Candidate - page 13.
  2. Jason Matthews Q&A for Reddit.