Colonel Dr. Irina Spalko was the Soviet Union's foremost expert on matters of the supernatural. An accomplished swordswoman in addition to being a brilliant scientist, in 1957, Spalko plotted to acquire the Crystal Skull of Akator and use it, with Indiana Jones' help, to lead her to the lost city of Akator, where, she hoped, she would obtain mental powers which would allow her to singlehandedly win the Cold War. Upon reaching Akator, the godlike, interdimensional beings who inhabited the city offered a gift in exchange for the Skull's safe return. Spalko stepped forward to claim the gift, demanding to know "everything." Unfortunately, "everything" turned out to be too much for Spalko to handle, and her brain overloaded and her body was destroyed.