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Markov’s assassination may be the most “Bond-like” episode of the entire Cold War. But to chalk up the bizarre killing up as “just another Cold War hi-jinx” is inadequate. Markov’s murder epitomized the Eastern Bloc’s inability to stomach dissent. The totalitarian system –in this case Todor Zhivkov’s Bulgaria, with help from the Soviet KGB– eliminated Markov just as it had the millions of dissenters before him.
Markov’s end was the same as his predecessors, but the means of his assassin were quite different. A month before his death, Markov received a phone call informing him that he would “die of natural causes, killed by a poison the West could not detect or treat.” His dangerous ideas would be extinguished when he died a “natural,” quiet, unremarkable death.
Bulgarians refuse to give up on the story. As they continue their dog-eared pursuit of the truth Bulgarian journalists and historians –using Bulgaria’s effective access to information law (see page 53)– have unearthed a trove of documents exposing and explaining the umbrella assassination.
Foremost among these journalists is Hristo Hristov. He searched the Bulgarian archives and found these documents –in Bulgarian and Russian– related to Markov’s assassination
The poison which killed Markov was ricin, a deadly derivative of the caster bean. (Breaking Bad fans will remember that ricin played a key role early in season two.) Ricin kills with a slow and painful death. Markov succumbed to a fever as the ricin irreparably damaged his lymph nodes and caused hemorrhaging in his internal organs. Finally, four days later, Markov’s kidneys and heart failed.
Markov was not the only Bulgarian dissident targeted for assassination. A document listing Markov and other dissident “enemies” gives further insight. It names another Bulgarian dissident journalist, Vladimir Kostov. Kostov was the victim of a similar, but unsuccessful attack, in the Paris metro. Kostov and Markov had identical poisonous pellets inside of them.
There were several investigations into Markov’s death, but none have brought Markov’s killer to justice. According to Hristov’s research, the killer was codenamed Agent Piccadilly.
Agent Piccadilly was a Dane who had worked Bulgarian Intelligence since 1971. In 1977 and 1978 he made three trips to London; he was in London at the time of Markov’s assassination, and left the day after. Piccadilly was awarded medals for his service, and now lives freely in Europe.
In 1993, former KGB General Oleg Kalugin stated he was present at the meeting where Markov’s killing was planned. Kalugin said that the order to assassinate Markov came from the leader of Bulgarian Communist party, Tidor Zhivkov who wanted to silence his leading critic. The seventh of September –the day Markov was shot by the poisonous umbrella– was also Zhivkov’s birthday.
For Markov's brother, Nikola Markov, finding the truth about Georgi's murder is no longer personal, he says, "My brother's murder is not a criminal case, but a political case," He further continued to say, "I'm not looking for the killer, but the person who ordered and organized it. And who was guilty? The system. I want to show the world what the communist system really was." - hubpages.com...