Originally Posted by cherokeesam
Okay, I'll go along with that --- HYDRA probably died when Schmidt did. Or appeared to.
So who does that leave? The Russians? I still don't buy into the idea that the Soviet army would go all psycho on a poor wounded US soldier and start experimenting on and brainwashing him just for kicks.
In the comics, they do it because they think he might be a super-soldier like Steve. They turn out to be wrong.
In the movies, Bucky does
have something super about him thanks to Zola's experiment, maybe not super-strength like Cap, but perhaps a healing factor.
So they keep him around. Because though the US and the USSR are allies, they are never friends. Both sides know the war is winding down, and they'll be at each others' throats next.
A soldier with a healing factor or power of some kind would be a bit too valuable to return. The Americans already suspect that he was KIA. So why not?