During the Soviet years the Darzhavna sigurnost was one of the most efficient and ruthless of all the state security organs in Eastern Europe. Back in 1978 one of their operatives jabbed a ricin-tipped umbrella into the leg of one Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident who used to broadcast programmes critical of the Bulgarian regime for the CIA-backed Radio Free Europe. This caused his death a few days later.
Now 30 years on despite the fact that London is reeling from a crime wave like New York in the 1980s, a bunch of British detectives have found time to head off to Sofia to try to solve this case once and for all.
As to why now, the article referenced gives two possible explanations.
- On September 11, the 30-year statute of limitation on the case will expire under Bulgarian law. and after that date, it will no longer be possible to launch legal proceedings.
- the Markov case could help Scotland Yard in its investigation into the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. The former KGB agent died in 2006 after being poisoned with radioactive polonium in London.
Can I add a third?It's the summer and a bunch of Scotland Yard's finest would rather be hanging out at a Bulgarian Black sea resort than back home dealing with people like this guy