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The James Bond villain Francisco Scaramanga was based on a real person who was a Soviet assassin.

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posted on May, 24 2017 @ 08:14 AM

The James Bond villain Francisco Scaramanga was based on a real person who was a Soviet assassin.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Background of Bogdan Stashinsky

3. Career with the NKVD/KGB.

4. Promotion to KGB assassin

5. Stashinsky’s career as a Soviet assassin

6. Reactions to Rebet’s and Bandera’s death

7. From East Germany with Love

8. Life in Moscow

9. Fleeing to the West

10. Trial

11. After the Ordeal

12. My personal thoughts

1. Introduction

Now who here is familiar with the Bond Villain Francisco Scaramanga aka the man with the Golden Gun?
For those of you who haven’t, please watch the James Bond movie or read the novel.

Anyways, did you know that Ian Fleming actually based Francisco Scaramanga from a Soviet Assassin named Bogdan Stashinsky?

The author (Serhii Plokhy) who created the book the Man with the Poison Gun believed that Ian Fleming most likely based Francisco Scaramanga from Stashinsky.

“According to author Serhii Plokhy, a Harvard historian, Stashinsky's unusual exploits inspired Ian Fleming's 1965 James Bond novel, "The Man With the Golden Gun," which features a weapon that squirts liquid cyanide and leaves no trace. Plokhy is no Ian Fleming. His narrative skills are a bit stodgy. But this is one story that does a good job of telling itself.”

“ Ian Fleming’s The Man with the Golden Gun, written in 1964, less than two years after the trial, was clearly inspired by the Stashinsky case, and there are plenty more Bond notes throughout. Yet, as Plokhy notes, this story has as much in common with Dostoevsky and Conrad as it does Fleming. It is a story that straddles two cultures, two systems and a lot of history.”

2. Back ground of Bogdan Stashinsky

In his early life, Bogdan Stashinsky and his family are secret supporters of Ukrainian resistance groups in the late 1940s. One day, Stashinsky got in trouble for not paying his train ticket and was send to the police. There, a member of the NKVD (The Secret Police of the Soviet Union at the time and was the forerunner of the KGB) came up to him and revealed he knows a lot about his family’s connection with Ukrainian resistance fighters. The Secret Policeman gave him an ultimatum; either he betrays the Ukrainian resistance or his entire family will be killed. Bogdan took the latter choice. Through his actions the NKVD managed to eliminate many Ukrainian resistance fighters. However, his family ended up disowning him.
With nowhere to go to, Bogdan decided to join the NKVD.

To be continued.
edit on 5/24/2017 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 24 2017 @ 08:22 AM

3. Career with the NKVD/KGB.

Later on in the early 1950s when the NKVD became the KGB, he was then assigned to East Germany where he was trained to pose as an East German national named Josef Lehmann. There he was to study its language and culture as part of his cover.
Before the Berlin wall was erected, people from the West and East can go in and out. As a result, it was easier for the Soviets to send operatives to the West while the US and other Western nations can send operatives to the Eastern bloc.
As part of his mission, Bogdan was to spy on not just Ukrainian Resistance Fighters that are in exile but also West German and US military installations.

4. Promotion to KGB assassin

One day his KGB handler came up to him and showed him a weapon

The weapon is a gun that sprays Cyanide poison gas and liquid poison. In order for the user to use it effectively, he has to aim the weapon on his face and chest. Poison will evaporate almost immediately after discharge leaving no trace. The victim’s death however, will die of a heart attack thus making the victim looked like he/she died of natural causes. Meanwhile the assassin is to take a special antidote in order to not die from the poison gas.

Here’s the author’s information regarding the assassination weapon:

“HURI: So, speaking of the poison gun itself... is that something that was commonly used? Was Stashinsky the only one to use it? Did the KGB continue using it, do you know?

SP: What we know is that in the 1950s they were trying to use these technological achievements to improve the art of the killing. The crimes became more and more innovative. And one of the things that they were already trying to use was radioactive polonium back in the 1950s. We know about the failed attempt to kill one of the defectors with polonium, and we know about the Stashinsky gun.

In both cases, we know about them because something went wrong. There probably were more cases like that, there were quite a few suspicious deaths, including among the leaders of the Ukrainian immigration, but these are the two cases that we know about: One dealing with the Russian defector, one with the leaders of the Ukrainian immigration.

My understanding is that the original gun was an improved version of a gun used by the German intelligence during the Second World War. I'm not an expert on those gadgets, so I can't say that with 100% certainty, but looking at different types of this spray gun or poison gun (including at the Spy Museum here in Washington DC), that's the connection I made. And they kept improving it, because Rebet was killed with a gun that had just one barrel. By the time they got to killing Bandera, the gun had two barrels, and Stashinsky pushed the trigger for both barrels at the same time. That was one of the reasons it became clear that it was an assassination or poisoning, not a heart attack.”

Here is the picture of the poison weapon Stashinsky used

Bogdan was actually shocked the KGB asked him to be him an assassin. In fact, the KGB wouldn’t have showed the poison weapon if they didn’t want him to be an assassin.

Here are his thoughts as stated from the Book the Man with the Poison Gun p.44

“But he simply could not imagine himself killing an unarmed person. He had been raised a Christian, and some of his values his parents had taught him had stayed with him.”

However, there are consequences should he not follow the request of the KGB. A KGB assassin named Nikolai Khokhlov was silenced by the KGB for refusing to follow their orders by choosing to not kill his target and instead defect to the West. Because of this, Bogdan was forced to play ball with the KGB.

To test out his new weapon, Bogdan uses his weapon to kill a dog.

To be continued.
edit on 5/24/2017 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)

edit on 5/24/2017 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 24 2017 @ 08:33 AM

5. Stashinsky’s career as a Soviet assassin

His targets: Two Ukrainian nationalists who lived abroad who run afoul of the Soviets.

“Stashinsky was entrusted with two targeted assassinations, one in 1957 and the other in 1959. He completed both assignments successfully, concealing his poison-spraying gun under a neatly folded newspaper and stalking his targets throughout Munich until he knew their routines perfectly. Both victims were prominent leaders in the Ukrainian émigré community and ran resistance networks that actively fought Nikita Khrushchev’s stifling rule. Top KGB officials, and possibly Khrushchev himself, seemed to hope that the elimination of these Ukrainian nationalist leaders would spark a power struggle within the movement and weaken it.”

Nikita Khrushchev

The names of his targets are Liv Rebet and Stepan Bandera who happened to be living in West Germany in exile.

Liv Rebet

Stepan Bandera

Here is a description of Bogdan assassinating Stepan Bandera (Man with the Poison Gun pg. 65):

"Stashinsky bent down, ostensibly to fix his shoelace, while he waited for Bandera to figure out the door. Stashinsky began to have second thoughts — perhaps it was not the right time to carry out his plan. But he kept going. ... He raised the weapon, still rolled up in the newspaper, and fired it in Bandera's face. He later admitted that he had been nervous and fired both barrels, not just one. There followed a pop. ... In two hours, he was aboard an express train to Frankfurt."

Right after that incident, Bandera ended up having a heart attack with no sign of violent struggle. In fact when he died, he seemed to have a heart attack that’s similar to a person who had a regular heart attack.
After he eliminated his targets, he threw away his weapon to the river and get away as quickly as possible.

edit on 5/24/2017 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 24 2017 @ 08:41 AM

6. Reactions to Rebet’s and Bandera’s death

While friends, family and colleagues suspect foul play, West German authorities ruled it as suicide because while they managed to find traces of cyanide, there seem to be no sign of violent struggle thus ruling it out as murder. They first stated Bandera died of natural causes but then later stated he committed suicide.

Here’s a description from The Man with the Poison Gun pg. 73

“Cyanide Poisoning with no indication of violence pointed to suicide rather than murder”

In other words, Bogdan managed to cover his tracks very well.

Meanwhile the CIA and other intelligence agencies suspected foul play but suspected someone else killed Bandera rather than Bogdan.

For his actions, Soviet officials decided to reward Bogdan by giving him the Order of the Red Banner of Valor which was an award given by the Soviet Union.

7. From East Germany with Love

However, while deep cover in Berlin, Bogdan met a woman who happened to be from East Germany. The woman’s name was Inge Pohl. While the Inge wasn’t attractive, Bogdan loved her for her personality.

However, his KGB handlers are very unhappy with the arrangement. At first, the KGB recommended that he end the relationship. In the KGB, all men must marry an ethnic Russian woman (preferably KGB) or his career will have problems. Part of the reason for this rule was because there was an incident where a Soviet operative ended up defecting after falling in love with a foreigner.

In fact, after a KGB officer showed him a photo of beautiful KGB Russian lady and offer Stashinsky to marry her, Stashinsky replied:

“Beauty is not the point,” replied Stashinsky. “When you’ve known someone for a long time and know that it will be good to go on living with her, that’s exactly what you need”

The Man with the Poison Gun pg. 129

So the KGB gave up.

Instead, the KGB decided to allow Bogdan to marry Inge in the condition she gets involved with the KGB and that she has to get a new identity. Also, she must move and live in Moscow with Bogdan.

So Bogdan agreed and married Inge.

Bogdan eventually revealed his real identity to Inge but Inge seemed to accept it.

edit on 5/24/2017 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 24 2017 @ 08:51 AM

8. Life in Moscow

After the wedding, he and Inge moved to Moscow.

However, Inge ended up being very unhappy. She saw poverty in the streets of Moscow.

Here is an excerpt from the book about how Inge see Moscow:

“Inge found the sanitary conditions in the Soviet capital utterly appalling. The trash cans were full and always dirty, so one had to be careful not to brush against them. People would spit everywhere. She called the toilets a “public tragedy.” Some of them were nothing more than holes in the ground, surrounded by filth, emitting a terrible smell.”

The Man with the Poison Gun Pg. 161

In addition, Inge and Bogdan discovered they have no privacy when the found out their rooms are bugged by the KGB.
However, one time when the mailman delivered mail:

“The messenger produced-the envelopes had already been opened-and told the Stashinskys that he had had no time to read and translate them. He instead asked the couple to tell him what the letters were about. Now it was Stashinsky’s turn to experience culture shock. The KGB was reading their correspondence and not even trying to hide the fact from them”

The Man with the Poison Gun pg. 161.

9. Fleeing to the West

Due to their ordeal, Bogdan and Inge are convinced that they have to defect to the West.

Later on, Inge at some point went back to East Germany to visit family.

In 1961, Inge gave birth to a child named Peter.

Tragically, the child died. However, Inge and Bogdan decided to use this opportunity to escape to the West since their KGB “minders” will be distracted by attending the funeral of their son.

After many obstacles on the way to West Berlin, Bogdan and Inge managed to make it to West Berlin. Interestingly, they managed to escape a few hours before the created the Berlin wall that divided West and East Berlin.

edit on 5/24/2017 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 24 2017 @ 08:59 AM

10. Trial

Upon reaching West Berlin, he arrived to the CIA headquarters where he and Inge where interrogated separately. Bogdan told his story but the CIA didn’t believe him
After the Americans are done interrogating Bogdan, he handed over to West German authorities where he was put on trial.
There, he confesses the assassinations he did.

Initially, people have a hard time believing because they questioned why Bogdan admitted his crimes so openly.

Bandera’s family and victims accuse him of being a traitor while Soviet and Eastern Bloc media painted him as a Bandera operative.

Others like Rebet’s Family said it wasn’t Bogdan’s fault he killed the victims but the Soviet System

An American official named Charles Kersten, a man with connections to Washington also defended Bogdan by saying that without his testimony, the US will never would have learned about how the Soviets caused “heart attacks” to political opponents they silenced.

For his crimes, Bogdan was sentenced 7 years in prison.

Sadly while in prison, Inge divorced him because she was traumatized from the whole ordeal and want nothing to do with him and the world of espionage.

While not much was known about Bogdan’s reaction but I can assume he was heartbroken to hear that the woman he loved divorced him.

11. After the Ordeal

After Prison, supposedly Stashinsky found asylum in South Africa.

Why South Africa? According to the author, he stated that South Africa has no diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, thus making it a hard for the KGB to operate with impunity.
In South Africa, he changed his identity by having plastic surgery and forging a new identity.

He supposedly remarried to another woman but not enough info was known about her.
According to the South Africans, he was a valuable asset because he knows so much about Soviet intelligence operations. He joined the South African Secret Police and helped suppress Communist movements in the Congo and other African countries by serving as an advisor for anti-Communist forces.

Also, Ian Fleming, the man who created the James Bond novels decided to create the novel the Man with the Golden Gun and in one part of the novel, James Bond was brainwashed by the Soviets to kill his boss using a Poison gun. This part was supposedly based on the Stashinsky event.

In addition, reportedly after Bogdan defected, Nikita Khruschev was very upset with the ordeal. The KGB put Stashinsky as part of their hit list.

Bogdan’s case revealed to the world that the Soviets assassinate political opponents abroad.

After the Trial, Inge disappeared. Rumors stated that she was in hiding and she was provided for by someone. No one knows where she went.

12. My personal thoughts

Now if you are still confuse on how Stashinsky and Scaramanga are similar, well the only similarity between them is that they are good looking, are assassins and both have unusual weapons (Stashinsky: Poison Gun and Scaramanga: Golden Gun).

Personally, I think it was one of the saddest stories in history and it’s not even Hollywood.

Defecting to the West only for the love of your life to divorce you is the most downer outcome I have ever heard.
As for Stashinsky, many of you may wonder why he left one Secret Police only to join another.

My take on this is after the love of his life divorced him, there’s nothing left to lose for him.

In Africa, my theory was due to his skills as a former KGB operative most likely he not only assassinates Communist enemies in Angola and other African countries in the behalf of the South Africans but also engage in torturing political dissidents suspected of having Communist sympathies.

Plus, there was saying: once a spy always a spy. So Stashinsky, even if he wants to retire from espionage will never be able to and will forever be a spy.

The conspiracy side of mine believes like Scaramanga, Stashinsky managed to hide in Southeast Asia and live in luxury while occasionally performing assassinations on the behalf of the South African government or the CIA while having a bad@ss Asian servant and a new lover that looks like Maude Adams (Or whatever Bond girl you prefer. Post a photo of your favorite Bond girl if you want), though wherever he goes he’ll forever be haunted by the loss of his love Inge Pohl

I can imagine him in the beach closing eyes and remembering the times he was with Inge.

Some of you may be wondering who does the beautiful Russian KGB female operative that KGB offered Stashinsky to marry looked like. Sorry to say but I can’t find a photo of this agent but I’d like to imagine her as looking like the Bond chick from Russia with Love (If you imagine another Bond girl, please feel free to post a picture to show your preference.)

I wonder what does Vladimir Putin think of Stashinsky? As a former KGB operative himself, he may have heard of Stashinsky and may still be hunting for him if Stashinsky is still alive today.

One more thing, I dedicate this thread in in honor of Roger Moore (Who died yesterday) and Christopher Lee. May the Force be with you both.

edit on 5/24/2017 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 24 2017 @ 09:01 AM

The Man with the Poison Gun by Serhii Plokhy. (I highly recommend the book if you want to learn more details on Bogdan’s life and career and Soviet assassination operations)

posted on May, 24 2017 @ 09:17 AM
a reply to: starwarsisreal

very interesting, the cold war was a little warmer than most people realize i think.

good post

posted on May, 24 2017 @ 09:20 AM
a reply to: penroc3


I posted this because I noticed there are not many threads involving the KGB.

In fact there was also another good thread involving the KGB that was written by ATS member Skyfloating. Its discusses how the KGB created some conspiracy theories.
edit on 5/24/2017 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 24 2017 @ 09:30 AM
A really interesting read. Thankyou for taking the time to post it.

posted on May, 24 2017 @ 09:35 AM
a reply to: starwarsisreal

Awesome work

Flagged for a later read

posted on May, 24 2017 @ 09:48 AM
a reply to: starwarsisreal

Aha, you posted it. Thank you. Very good thread bud. The only thing that's bugging me is that wasn't the Bond character called Scaramanga?

posted on May, 24 2017 @ 09:59 AM
a reply to: Wide-Eyes

My apologies. No worries I fixed it lol.

posted on May, 24 2017 @ 10:08 AM
a reply to: starwarsisreal

Cool. I thought it was worth mentioning. When you announced this in the Roger Moore thread I thought it was a typo.All good.

posted on May, 24 2017 @ 11:32 AM
good thread

thank you .

posted on May, 25 2017 @ 09:12 AM
Hey starwars,

I just love this thread. The effort you put in to its organization and sources shows and, along with very interesting subject matter, makes for an excellent read.

To me, the very saddest part is thinking about that initial contact- where a bright youth is forced (through torturous measures I imagine) to betray his own family and cause. Over an unpaid ticket.

Though losing his love was another bitter reminder of his isolation and alienation, I am sure.

I can see the Dostoevsky and Conrad influences here, definitely! Dostoevsky was the probing psychological type of author, Conrad delved into the dark heart of man.

Excellent job here friend.

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