The Soul Skinner was a mutant and a Russian citizen. When his daughter Oskana died, the Soul Skinner found out that his wife was a spy for the Russian government. Outraged that she didn’t use her resources to save Oskana, the Soul Skinner killed his wife.
Some time later, in the town of Neftelensk, the Soul Skinner had the town’s population in a catatonic state, save for the children. Skinner did the same thing to Russian operatives Blind Faith, Darkstar, Omega Red, and had Omega Red under his control. With the help of Omega Red, Soul Skinner captured the X-Men, and exploited their fears and fantasies, but Colossus and operative Colonel Alexi Vazhin escaped. Later, after revealing to Colossus that Russian soldiers had killed his parents, the Soul Skinner captured and fought the X-Men by channeling his abilities through the mind of an unconscious Psylocke. During the fight, the Soul Skinner was struck by the reawakened telepath's psychic knife, which contained the innocence of the town’s children, rendering him into a catatonic state. The Soul Skinner was then shot and killed by Colonel Vazhin.