Originally Posted by cherokeesam
Even so, it makes no sense that the Soviets would have picked Bucky up and Manchurian Candidate-d him. Even if you buy into the highly unlikely scenario that an unnamed, unseen Soviet commando unit *just happened* to be in the same area as the train battle and *just happened* to find Bucky, it would be almost impossible to believe that the Russians (who were, as you recall, ALLIES during WWII) wouldn't have just given a wounded American soldier medical treatment and shipped him back to his unit, instead of holding him hostage and turning him into a mind-controlled assassin for the KGB.
Very tenuous allies. The Soviets started out on Hitler's side, and only joined the Allies at Hitler's betrayal.
And as I said, perhaps the Soviets were there to capture Zola for their own reasons.
HYDRA makes more sense. Makes PERFECT sense. Bucky is in HYDRA territory; there's really only two groups that could have found him: HYDRA or the Howling Commandos. We know it wasn't the Howlers, ergo....
Plus, HYDRA had already tried to make Bucky a programmed assassin; they just needed to complete the job. Maybe Skull isn't the one who completes the job; and most likely not Zola (who is in custody/protection of Phillips by this point)....but one of Schmidt's underlings could've kept HYDRA going for the rest of the war (and beyond, even if they had to go underground). Enter: Baron Zemo, Von Strucker, Madame Hydra, or whoever.
Actually, by that point, Schmidt is on the ropes. All his bases but the one in the Alps are destroyed. He has no territory left.
And according to word of god, Bucky was being experimented on with a variant of the super-soldier serum that will enable him to survive the fall. No one ever said anything about him being brainwashed.