Famous Unsolved Crimes Murder of Georgi Markov Part 2

About a famous unsolved crime involving the murder of Georgi Markov, history of the investigation, clues, and unanswered questions.


Georgi Markov Murder (1978)

Clues: It was obvious that Markov had been silenced by Communist agents, and it soon became apparent that Markov was not the first to fall prey to the murder-by-umbrella technique. A friend of Markov's, Vladimir Kostov, a defector who had been a French correspondent for the Bulgarian television and radio network, was mysteriously hit in the back the previous August while riding an escalator in a Paris subway station. After Markov's death, Kostov was X-rayed, and a small pellet was found in his back. It was forwarded to London and found to be an exact duplicate of the Markov pellet. Kostov presumably had survived because his pellet had contained a nonlethal amount of poison.

Unanswered Questions: When the poison story broke, the Bulgarian government reacted in anger, first denouncing the tale as James Bondian nonsense and later charging that it was a plot to damage Bulgaria by killing off someone as expendable as Markov and then blaming the episode on the Sofia regime. The Bulgarians said they suspected it was the work of some emigre group in cooperation with a Western intelligence agency. Indeed, many Western observers doubted Bulgarian involvement, claiming that such scientific expertise was beyond their intelligence capabilities and that only SMERSH, the KGB section normally responsible for international murders, could have carried it out. In 1978 the climate of detente and the possibility of the success of the SALT talks required Russian circumspection, and that was possible only if the murder or murders appeared strictly Bulgarian-inspired. Thus, the Russians could send a chilling message to defectors and still maintain friendly diplomatic relations with the West. But aside from such geopolitical considerations, the major unanswered question was, and still is, How many others have been eliminated in the same manner as Markov? All such deaths would almost certainly have been passed off as due to natural causes.

Late in 1980 Markov's window was informed by Scotland Yard that the file on the Markov case was still open and that the hunt was being pressed.

Whom to Notify: New Scotland Yard, Broadway, London, SW1H OBG.

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