Zangief (ザンギエフ Zangiefu?, based on Russian Зангиев) is part of the Street Fighter series of fighting games. Zangief makes his first appearance in the original Street Fighter II as one of the original eight playable characters, appearing in all subsequent revisions of the game as well. In the Street Fighter II games, Zangief was characterized as a former professional wrestler who participated in the tournament to represent his country under the request of the Soviet President, an unnamed character resembling Mikhail Gorbachev (the actual real life Soviet President at the time). The subsequent home versions takes into account Gorbachev's resignation from office by having Zangief address the character as "Mr. Ex-President", although Zangief still represented the defunct Soviet Union in the games.

Zangief would return in Street Fighter Alpha 2 and its follow-up Street Fighter Alpha 3. In the Alpha series, Zangief is a national Russian hero nicknamed the "Red Cyclone" who becomes acquainted with Gorbachev at the end of Alpha 2 (the Alpha sub-series being set before Street Fighter II) and ends up fighting Shadaloo in Alpha 3.

Zangief is the only implied winner of the World Tournament held in Street Fighter IV. His ending is the only one that mentions the tournament as well as its ending. Zangief's photograph holding the beaten Seth (main boss and host of the tournament) in a headlock is then viewed by children who recognized Seth as the "bad guy from the TV". While the tournament is mentioned in the prologues of almost all the characters, only Zangief is shown discussing his win. Zangief is also well known worldwide in Street Fighter IV, as fellow pro wrestler El Fuerte calls Zangief "Tornado Rojo" (The spanish translation of "Red Cyclone")

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