Originally Posted by cherokeesam
The problem, story-wise, is that Zola is still in the custody of proto-SHIELD (I forget what the agency was called back then) at the end of CATFA. He has to escape, defect, or get spy-swapped to the Soviets or someone else after WWII --- unless they're implying that Android Zola is somehow still on SHIELD's payroll in modern times. Either way, it makes it unlikely that Zola would've been the one to "create" Winter Soldier.
. It has been almost 70 years since WWII ended. In that amount of time Zola could have gone from SSR custody to any one of a number of countries or US government agencies. With Zola's advanced scientific knowledge, he could easily have bargained for his freedom by cooperating with the US military, a la von Braun. The SSR had the Tesseract, after all, and Zola was the one man on Earth who had any idea how to use its energy. He would have been an extremely valuable asset and there is no reason why he wouldn't have been recruited by the MCU version of Operation Paperclip.
Had Zola made such a deal, securing his freedom in exchange for aiding the US, he could easily have continued working on the Winter Soldier project in secret. Perhaps Zola had his own allies (HYDRA remnants, Zemo) who retrieved Barnes from where he fell and froze him until the scientist could proceed with his experiments. After Zola retired and when his body was failing due to age, he would have had a lot of incentive to work on his android body prototype and Barnes' artificial arm. There is a lot of leeway to make the Zola/Winter Soldier story work, if that's where they're going.