Misha Glenny - Secrets of the Dead: Umbrella Assassin TV - Annabel Markov - The Mail on Sunday - Rufus Crompton - Robin Keeley - Jack Hamilton - Master Spies TV - Spycraft TV - Secrets of Her Majesty's Secret Service TV -
The Bulgaria State Security Service was held in special regard by its Soviet masters for its efficacy and reliability. Usually invisible, it never disappointed on those occasions when it did catch the public eye – the DS masterminded the death of the Bulgaria dissident Georgi Markov, when working for the BBC in London, was struck down by a poison-tipped umbrella as he strode across Waterloo Bridge in 1978. Misha Glenny, McMafia
The business of eliminating enemies of the state Le Carre-style was mere icing on the cake. The most important and lucrative trade of the Bulgarian secret service was smuggling – in drugs, in arms and in high-tech. ibid.
On September 7th 1978 Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian living in London, was travelling to work. Following his usual routine he left his car and crossed Waterloo Bridge. He had no idea that on this day he was being watched. As Markov waited for a bus he felt something sting his leg: he turned to see a man picking up an umbrella and running away. What seemed at first like a curious accident turned into an extraordinary detective story when three days later Markov died. Secrets of the Dead – Umbrella Assassin, PBS 2006
In 1969 when the authorities tried to stifle him by banning one of his novels and closing one of his plays he defected to the West. ibid.
An act of petty spite carried out by a ruthless dictatorship. ibid.
He [Georgi Markov] began to receive ominous phone calls from Bulgaria. His former country liked to warn him he would be punished. ibid.
Markov retaliated with his own form of revenge. He started writing scripts criticising President Zhivkov on Radio Free Europe. ibid.
Just as the investigation seemed to be stalling there was an unexpected breakthrough. News of a similar attack in Paris filtered through to Scotland Yard. Two weeks before the Markov incident another Bulgarian dissident named Vladimir Kostov had felt something sting him in his back as he exited the Metro. But unlike Markov he had survived. ibid.
These were the first known cases of someone injected with concentrated ricin. ibid.
He told me he’d been jabbed with an umbrella tip. It was almost as if he didn’t want to believe it himself. And I don’t think he wanted to frighten me with it. Annabel Markov, interview BBC News 13th September 1978
I organised Markov’s execution. The Mail on Sunday 4th April 1983
Something had gone into the back of his leg which had travelled up to the lymph glands and had there caused a reaction. Rufus Crompton, Home Office pathologist
It clearly wasn’t the pellet that killed him. It was what was in those holes. Robin Keeley, Metropolitan police forensic scientist
I have found one person who has agreed to speak to me about Francesco Gullino. But he also very frightened and concerned not to be identified. Jack Hamilton, journalist
In 1978 the Bulgarian secret service asked the KGB to assassinate a dissident living in London: the intended victim was Georgi Markov, a popular Bulgarian writer and anti-communist … The poison was a lethal derivative of ricin. Master Spies s1e3: The Deadly Game, Discovery
One incident during the Cold War utilized a poison umbrella against Georgi, Markov, who had defected to England from the People’s Republic of Bulgaria … ‘a pneumatically fired device that would shoot a tiny pellet a little larger than the head of a pin; that pellet would be cross-drilled and inside would be filled the poison ricin’ … Georgia Markov was followed by an assassin as he walked across Waterloo Bridge to catch a bus on the other side. Spy Craft II: Deadly Poisons, Netflix 2021
London: [Georgi] Markov desperately tries to work out how he’s been poisoned; the only strange thing he can remember happening is at a bus stop on the way to work that morning … ‘prodded him with an umbrella’ … a tiny round pellet the size of a pinhead … Ricin. Secrets of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, PBS 2014