Originally Posted by metaphysician
I still say there's no reason it can't be Lukin *and* Hydra remnants: some portions of Hydra defected to the Soviets after the Red Skull was killed. The Soviets took advantage of these assets. Fast forward a decade or so, and the difference between "Soviet black ops program that has a bunch of ex-Hydra personnel and resources" and "Hydra Reborn, Soviet Union Edition" becomes narrow to the point of irrelevance.
That's exactly what I think.
Zola defects to the Soviet Union, hooks up with Lukin, and the rest is history.