"The current situation has made it necessary for the First
Main Directorate (PGU) of [
The above is an excerpt from Addendum 13 of the "Perspective plan for cooperation between the intelligence services of USSR and communist Bulgaria in the period 1972-1975"--a secret document made public thanks to Hristo Hristov, an investigative reporter with the Bulgarian independent daily Dnevnik who won a six-year-long legal battle for access to the secret archives of Bulgaria's National Investigative Service (NRS), the country's security agency. Last week, Hristov published his book The Double Life of Agent Piccadilly, based on more than 90 volumes of previously undisclosed NRS documents that shed light on the 1978 murder in London of Bulgarian dissident journalist Georgi Markov.
The "current situation," as described in Addendum 13, refers
to Markov's critical BBC and Radio Liberty broadcasts against the communist
regime of Bulgarian dictator Todor Zhivkov. Markov--a prominent writer and
journalist--had defected to
In September 1978, the means reached the end--Markov died in
Thirty years later, Bulgarian authorities decided to forego the statute of limitation on Markov's case and keep the investigation open. As they should. The purported killer--Francesco Gullino, a Dane of Italian origin contracted for the job by the Bulgarian communist leadership under the code name "Piccadilly"--is still at large. So are the masterminds of the murder.
The investigation into Markov's case, moreover, might
illuminate more recent journalist poisonings in which Russian Security Service
(FSB) involvement is suspected. (FSB is the successor to the KGB.) In July
Shchekochikhin, the deputy editor of the independent newspaper Novaya
Gazeta, was overtaken by flu-like symptoms while on a business trip outside
A year later, Anna Politkovskaya
fell ill and was hospitalized after drinking tea on a plane bound for the
The "Bulgarian umbrella" might be a Cold War legend. But the
ghost of Georgi Markov--as well as those of Yuri Shchekochikhin and Anna
Politkovskaya--obligate us all to look beyond the myths and seek to uncover the
truth. It is just what Hristo Hristov has done with his book.
The "Bulgarian umbrella" might be a Cold War legend. But the ghost of Georgi Markov--as well as those of Yuri Shchekochikhin and Anna Politkovskaya--obligate us all to look beyond the myths and seek to uncover the truth. It is just what Hristo Hristov has done with his book.