the home of online investigations

You can support the work of Bellingcat by donating through the following link:

Anatoliy Chepiga Is a Hero of Russia: The Writing Is on the Wall

October 2, 2018

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

After Bellingcat disclosed the identity of one of the two Skripal poisoning suspects as Anatoliy Chepiga, a highly decorated colonel working for Russia’s military intelligence, Russian authorities responded with a string of vehement denials.

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs initially called Bellingcat’s report “nonsense” and claimed it’s part of a disinformation campaign steered by Western governments. As of 1 October 2018, Maria Zakharova continued to insist on her Facebook page that Boshirov and Chepiga are different people. Following an initial acknowledgement that the Kremlin may not have been fully informed on the matter, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated to the press that “there is no data that the Hero of the Russian Federation has been awarded to [anyone named Anatoliy Chepiga.]”

Peskov also played down reporters asserting startling facial similarities between “Boshirov” and Chepiga, as shown in Bellingcat’s report, saying that the similarities are in fact trivial and likely coincidental.

However, the Kremlin’s denials rang exceedingly hollow against mounting additional evidence corroborating Bellingcat’s report  that was being unearthed by media organizations and open-source investigators alike.

At least five different media outlets — two Russian and three based in Europe — succeeded in tracking down people who knew Anatoliy Chepiga before or during his military studies. Overwhelmingly, these sources confirmed that the person who was interviewed on RT was Chepiga, and, furthermore, that Chepiga had been awarded the highest state award.

At the same time, media outlets sought additional ways to obtain objective, open-source evidence that Chepiga is indeed “Boshirov,” and the recipient of the Hero of the Russian Federation award. This search for evidence ran against a parallel process of destruction of open-source evidence: several articles that previously mentioned Chepiga in Russian publications were deleted shortly after Belingcat’s report was published.

One of the most promising open-source leads was proposed by reporters from Prague-based Radio Svoboda, who trawled through hundreds of photo and video galleries of visitors to, or students at, the Far-Eastern Military Academy (abbreviated as DVOKU in Russian), to find a high-quality photograph of the school’s Wall of Heroes. From various photographs it could be seen that the wall is decorated with portraits of alumni who have received the Hero of the Russian Federation award. Many photographs discovered by Radio Svoboda showed a portrait at the far end of the wall that resembled Chepiga. This extra portrait appeared at some point between 29 July 2014 – the last time the wall is pictured without Chepiga – and 18 March 2016, when a photo gallery shows the extra portrait.

Last publicly available photo of the Wall of Heroes at DVOKU without Chepiga’s portrait, from a closed OK group, photo dated July 2014

Photograph posted on OK on 18 March 2017, showing Anatoliy Chepiga added in the last full column next to the Gold Star.

However, no photograph found until today showed the last column of photos in sufficiently high resolution to be able to identify the face of the colonel.

Today, Bellingcat obtained a photograph, posted on the Russian social network Odnoklassniki (OK) by a visitor to the school in June 2017, which displays the face and name of Col. Chepiga with sufficient quality to make identification possible:

Wall of Fame at DVOKU: Portraits of all school alumni awarded Hero of Russia. Anatoliy Chepiga is in the middle row in the penultimate column, with Alexander Popov (who also received the award in 2014) in the last column


A comparison of the portrait of Colonel Anatoly Chepiga with a screenshot of “Ruslan Boshirov” as shown on RT

This new photo, seen against the backdrop of a mountain of additional evidence, will present a fresh challenge to Russian authorities who can no longer credibly deny — or even equivocate — that it was Colonel Chepiga who, in his own words, travelled to and back from Salisbury, and that he was furthermore the recipient of the Hero of the Russian Federation award, traditionally presented by the Russian president himself.

The Bellingcat team would like to express our gratitude to everyone who provided tips and leads for this investigation. We encourage our readers to continue sending confidential tips at

Bellingcat Investigation Team

The Bellingcat Investigation Team is an award winning group of volunteers and full time investigators who make up the core of the Bellingcat's investigative efforts.

Join the Bellingcat Mailing List:

Enter your email address to receive a weekly digest of Bellingcat posts, links to open source research articles, and more.


  1. Stewart

    Incompetent, there IS a UK scenario which is that through, the two individuals known as Petrov and Boshirov, the Russian government tried to murder Mr Skripol using Novichok in March 2018.
    This scenario is delivered to the people of the UK and beyond mostly via the UK media using the usual channels like press releases and “sources”, who are often anonymous.
    We don’t know whether the sex party story is true or not but it has now become part of the narrative. Of course, it undermines the “UK scenario” because people like me point out that the notion of two highly-trained GRU assassins engaging in such behaviour on the night before a monstrous, Russian government-sponsored political murder, is utterly ridiculous. However, at the time the story broke, the “UK scenario” was still developing and such a story might have looked to an unsophisticated tabloid journalist to fulfil the broad “Russia bad” requirement. It is significant that, though it has never been denied, it is seldom mentioned now because, if included, it makes the “UK scenario” look ridiculous.
    Contrary to what you have written, if we accept its part in the scenario, the involvement of novichok is hugely damning for the pair. It was found in the bloodstream of the Skripals and later traces from the same batch were found in the hotel room used by Petrov and Boshirov.
    I have questioned the likelihood that the room would have been used to prepare the novichok in a way that would leave behind traces and it wasn’t used by the pair after they returned from the botched murder attempt in Salibury so any “leak” must have been before the attempt took place. The UK scenario on what the two men did in Salisbury is clear. In spite of there being, in your words, “no evidence in the public domain of them actually applying the poison to the door handle or being at the house” the scenario encourages us to believe just that.
    However, that scenario itself leaves many unanswered questions and those many commentators on sites like this are pointing out the strange, apparent absence of CCTV protecting Mr Skripal’s safe house. Others are cherry-picking what elements they wish to accept or reject to reinforce their own pre-set viewpoints. If, as your “nickname” proclaims, the GRU is incompetent then that is very convenient for those promoting “UK scenario” because we can put all the bizarre and unbelievable elements of this case down to that. However, I don’t accept that is incompetent which is why I remain unconvinced that Petrov and Boshirov, two individuals who ARE demonstrably incompetent, are its agents.

    • The GRU's Incompetent

      Sorry you are still talking rubbish, whether the alleged sex party is true or not the story came from other guests at the hotel via the media it did not come from the government. Talking of a government narrative all of the time is simply nailing your conspiracy colours to the mast. It doesn’t undermine anything except the credibility of Russian agents. You are in my view acting like a typical conspiracy theorist, claim that every piece of information comes from the government and then since the government cannot be trusted you are free to reject any evidence that doesn’t fit your preconceived view and reject it as likely being made up. I guess you might be familiar with Occam’s Razor which essentially states that the simplest answer is usually the correct one, well I wonder if you are familiar with Hanlon’s Razor a variation of which is “never attribute to conspiracy that which can adequately be explained by incompetence”. I see no reason at all to assume that the story regarding the sex party is not true just because the men are professional Russian agents. You can’t claim to know what Russian agents get up to anymore than I can I would tend to think that you are another one who has fallen for the Hollywood myth of Russian agents. You’re view is that these agents would not have engaged in a sex and drug party while on an operation and a fair few people doubtless share this view, so now if it so unbelievable why would people on our side make it up. People constantly assert about lots of different parts of this case, that what’s claimed is completely unbelievable, so it must be made up, but why the heck would our SIS or our government make up stories that are not believable. If I were making up a story, I’d make up one that the majority of people will believe without question. I stick with the adage that the truth is stranger than fiction and the fact that something appears unbelievable is an indication that it’s probably true. Also given the frequency with which GRU agents are being caught up to no good, I’ve no reason not to believe that they really are just pretty incompetent. Hence my choice of name, this in part a reaction to people constantly in comments elsewhere that if the Russians wanted Skripal dead he would be dead and generally suggesting that Russian agents don’t make mistakes.

      The presence of the Novichok in their room is damning but it is still only evidence that they were in possession of the nerve agent, it’s not actual evidence that they applied it to his door. I don’t know why the room was contaminated with Novichok but I assume that they did do something with the Novichok in the room, the alternatives are that British agents planted traces of Novichok at a later date or that there was no Novichok in the room at all and it was all a lie. Of the three I consider the first the most plausible.

      As for the CCTV at Skripal’s house we don’t know for sure that there was no CCTV we only know that we have not been told that there was and no images have been released. We can assume that they applied the poison because why else were they there, but if there is ever trial someday, I think you might need to be able to say rather more than we can assume that they did it because they were near his house. You talk about the UK scenario again with regard to Salisbury, sorry but we know where they went and when from the CCTV cameras and the account that they gave on RT where they admitted that it was them in the images was not part of any UK scenario. The fact that the two men were filmed under 500 yards walk by footpath from Skripal’s house at 11:58 it is clear evidence that they were there at that time, unless you are going to suggest that we tampered with the CCTV it is again not part of a UK scenario, it is just what happened. I’ve read somewhere someone suggesting that the time had been altered or some such, applying Hanlon’s Razor and based on my own experience with modern cameras, if the time stamp were wrong (I’ve no evidence it was), it’s far more likely that people at the Shell garage where that camera is located had the wrong time set on it and had failed to correct it.

      The there is a very unfortunate tendency amongst people I regard as conspiracy theorists to cherry pick evidence, in precisely the same way that creationists, flat-earthers, climate-change deniers and similar, like to do. Dictating according to their own rules what is acceptable evidence and what is not, this makes holding any kind of debate almost impossible, in this case you present something as evidence which you regard as a fact and they reject because they presume that it has come from the government who are always lying and that you are either working for that state or are a sheep because you believe the state. A case in point is the CCTV footage of Shripal’s car on India Avenue near his house at 13:33, when you point out that this is evidence that the Skripals returned home on the 4th and that therefore their claims that they never went home are false, they won’t accept this, it’s more government lies. This claim about the Skripals not going home is one of many conspiracy claims that have been debunked, three others are the Gatwick CCTV mentioned earlier, Dr Stephen Davies’s letter to the Times claiming that no one was being treated at the hospital for nerve agent and Russia’s claim that s Swiss lab had found traces of BZ. There I’m sure a few others that I could think of, a lot of people commenting on this case still persist in believing these debunked claims and won’t accept that they have been debunked. This is why you can never win with conspiracy theorists.

      Russia has very clearly been promoting these false claims in order to fuel the plethora of conspiracy theories and cast doubt on the UK’s version of events. I reject your idea that there is a UK scenario, however it is certainly the case that we are engaged in an information/propaganda war with Russia, we have to try and counter their propaganda. Clearly there is evidence being held back and obviously the investigators are deciding what information to release and when and that is in part to counter the information coming from Russia. However I still do not regard that as a UK narrative. back at the beginning of the Skripal case an a lot of the reporting in the media was pretty awful particularly in certain papers, just because they were reporting unfounded speculation, they were doing that in their own interest to attract readers. I have done my best to ensure that what I accept as being true is based on real evidence and that I have excluded anything that I consider to be speculation or deliberate misinformation.

      The two suspects denied carrying a perfume bottle with Novichok, well they were hardly going to admit that they had it and denied any involvement in the attack on Skripal. But, otherwise their unbelievable account of their actions didn’t as far as I can see contradict anything that the UK has claimed, they stated that the images were of them and even produced the jacket that one of them had been wearing in Salisbury to confirm it was them, they’ve not denied that they went to the places that we have stated that they went to, just what they were doing there. Beyond suggesting that they are the assassins who attacked the Skripals, if we had cooked up some false scenario of what they were doing in Salisbury and where they were and when, to make it look more convincing that they are guilty why would they have confirmed that it was them. As stated before they lied about the Garwick CCTV implying that there was something dodgy about the images because they went through together which they could not have done.

      In conclusion sticking to Hanlon’s Razor yes we can put most if not all of the bizarre and unbelievable elements down to their incompetence, because that is far more plausible than that some idiots in our SIS invented these bizarre and unbelievable elements.

  2. Stewart

    I think your problem with what I write is that I don’t have any “preconceived views” on what happened to the 4 victims in this case and how it came to happen. Anyway it is a bit rich for someone calling himself or herself “The GRU’s Incompetent” to accuse others of basing their opinions on preconceived prejudices.
    I am a former investigator and I agree with you that the simplest answer is often the correct one. This is why I am very suspicious of a scenario that includes “poisoning by novichok” by a pair of ridiculously dimwitted GRU operatives who leave a series of trails behind them, all of which lead back to Moscow. Your Occam’s Razor contradicts your Hanlon’s Razor because your proposition that all GRU agents, planners and managers have the intelligence of gnats is not “the simplest answer” to the question. In fact it is so ridiculous that it nearly qualifies as a conspiracy theory in itself.
    Why would the two “do something” with the novichok in their Bow hotel room. Novichok is the most deadly substance known to mankind. You can’t just don a pair of plastic gloves and mix the binary components in a basin! I assume that there would be some kind of device built into the fake perfume aerosol to ensure safe mixing in a sealed compartment. Surely even incompetent Russians can do that, after all some competent ones supposedly developed the flippin stuff in the first place.
    The fact that Mr Skripal is not dead has nothing to do with GRU incompetence. It is because the Russian authorities chose not to kill him when they had the chance but instead put him in jail.
    Evidence does not have to prove anything, just provide an indication that something is valid. You write “We can assume that they applied the poison because why else were they there….” but you do not write this as a question which you would do if you had an enquiring mind. I ask “if the Russians believed Mr Skripal had to die, why did they try do it so incompetently?” I believe my approach is more valid.
    I’m not sure what you mean by “A case in point is the CCTV footage of Shripal’s car on India Avenue near his house at 13:33, when you point out that this is evidence that the Skripals returned home on the 4th and that therefore their claims that they never went home are false, they won’t accept this, it’s more government lies.” Are you perhaps confusing me with someone else?
    I’m interested in your “….it is certainly the case that we are engaged in an information/propaganda war with Russia, we have to try and counter their propaganda.” But if “we” are waging a propaganda war doesn’t that mean that “we” might be making up our own lies? Your statement certainly seems to contradict your assertion that there is no UK scenario.
    You remind us that P & B denied being involved with novichok but “their actions didn’t, as far as I can see, contradict anything that the UK has claimed.” Well, the novichok elements of the story would be a bit of a clincher, wouldn’t it, given its alleged role in this affair? Without it, there really wouldn’t be a story here as you almost admit yourself. As I have previously mentioned, the choice to use novichok to murder an old man in a quiet English town is a bizarre one. I’ve gone into details elsewhere on this site as to why I believe this to be the case but if he had been the victim of a hit-and-run with a stolen car or an assault while interrupting a break-in at his home or countless other more mundane causes of death then it would be much more credible. It would certainly be easier to execute and leave no evidential paper-trail back to Mr Putin front door.
    As I’ve also said previously I believe that the two were involved in some way in the Skripal attempted murderers, though perhaps only as patsies. They did not come across as sophisticated, highly-trained intelligence officers in the RT interview. They were more like dodgy, medium-level criminals trying to maintain a badly-devised alibi in the face of a merely cursory cross-examination.
    Not a lot of people know this, Incomptent, but Robert J. Hanlon’s death certificate notes the cause of death as “loss of blood after stupidly cutting himself with his own razor.” I prefer Occam’s wisdom and there are too many unsupported, broad assumptions being made in this case for my liking, one of them being “the GRU’s incompetent.”

    • Scott America

      That’s the thing homeboy, the Russians don’t care WTF you or I think, that’s their game, keep you thinking and over-analysing everything! Sure they did the deed, deep down you know that too!

    • ShaolinFingerJab

      “Novichock is the most deadly substance known to mankind”

      Botulinum toxin disagrees with you, investigator.

  3. The GRU's Incompetent

    In my comment I was making some general observations about conspiracy theorists they weren’t necessarily aimed at you, but, I confess I have not read all of your previous posts and it’s not always easy to know who is a just a sceptic and who is a full on conspiracist, there is a spectrum. There are lot of people commenting here and elsewhere who are clearly getting their information from the likes of Craig Murray who is a serious conspiracy theorist, and this has a tendency to cloud the issue somewhat. I knew when I said that we are engaged in a propaganda war with Russia that you would claim that was contradictory, I should perhaps have phrased it better, Russia is engaged in a propaganda war with us, but it is not of our making, we are simply responding to that. No that doesn’t mean that we are making up our own lies, apart from anything else I’ve seen no evidence of this, I don’t regard politicians making silly or ill-advised statements as examples of lying, in that these are not premeditated blatant lies.
    What I meant is that this information war has some bearing on what evidence we release and when, we have to try and maintain control of the story but that doesn’t mean that we are making stuff up. We have to be careful in what we say and do, that we do not lend credence to the conspiracy theories that Russia is promoting. In saying that there is no UK scenario what I mean is that the government and the media are not conspiring to maintain a single fixed predetermined narrative. The media are just doing what they always do pursuing their own agenda, people who believe in all of the various conspiracies complain that the media collectively are not doing their job and investigating, but I see no reason for the media to go off down these various rabbit holes, because there is no foundation to any of these theories.

    “Novichok is the most deadly substance known to mankind” that is an opinion, it is not a fact, this is my point. We were told by Porton Down that the poison was Novichok nerve agent, we were told by the Salisbury District Hospital that the patients, the Skripals and DS Bailiey and then Mr Rowley and Dawn Sturgess were treated for nerve agent poisoning, the OPCW confirmed the DSTL at PD’s findings in other words that it was Novichok (even if they didn’t use the name) therefore five people were poisoned but only one died. Rather than suggest that it was not Novichok as some would conclude, I take that to mean that Novichok is clearly not the deadliest substance known to man, because that is more plausible than believing that everyone and his wife is lying as part of some anti-Russian plot. I would suggest that the claim that Novichok is the deadliest substance is simply propaganda, because if it is then they weren’t poisoned with Novichok and then sends you off down a conspiracy rabbit hole where everyone is lying. The nerve agent in the form that it was used is a contact poison it works through dermal absorption, so provided mixing the binary agents did not produce any sort of vapour then yes you could mix them wearing plastic gloves of the type designed for handling hazardous chemicals, all they needed to do was avoid any contact with their skin. Ordinary rubber gloves would be no use but plastic gloves would protect them. After all if we assume that the poison was applied to the door handle whether by these two or someone else, they could not have worn any protective clothing besides gloves, and I find it hard to believe that the bottle could have been designed in such away that they could spray the liquid on without wearing gloves. Having some knowledge of sprays I think they would have needed more than gloves to spray, so more likely it was painted/smeared on to avoid any danger if spray drift. I don’t however like to speculate too much about this because I don’t know for a fact what the consistency of the liquid was or know precisely how the bottle was designed.

    Clearly given my choice of name I regard the GRU as incompetent, that does not however mean that I think that every single officer of the GRU is incompetent, I fully accept that it is odd that two men who are supposedly military intelligence officers and likely special forces would be so incompetent. However, the evidence produced by this website amongst others clearly indicates that they are incompetent, the arrest of I recall 12 GRU hackers in the US, the GRU officers exposed by Bellingcat for attempting to stage a pro-Russian coup in Montenegro who left a very clear financial trail from Serbia back to Russia, then Salisbury and now the Netherlands. On top of that there is the evidence that they were attempting to hack Malaysia Airlines regarding MH17, the Olympic doping scandal etc all of this suggests that they are pretty incompetent. No one it seems has an issue with stating that MI6 was incompetent in relation to Iraq and WMD, I don’t understand this obsession with the idea that it is some how ludicrous to claim that the GRU are just simply incompetent. Nor do I take the view that Bellingcat is just a propaganda site or that they are stooges of MI6 or NATO or whatever it is that pro-Russians and conspiracists claim. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have some bias, but then the people accusing them have a very strong bias the other way

    However, the point that people are ignoring and that is at the heart of my viewpoint is that the suspects actions appear supremely incompetent only because Skripal survived. If he had died we would likely not be having this discussion at all, as I stated earlier it is my view that had he died it would have been very difficult for us to determine the exact cause of death, one of the things said about Novichoks is that they were designed to be undetectable. The reason that they chose this method of assassination is that they wanted to send a message to other would be Skripals, that this is the fate of traitors, while at the same time maintaining plausible deniability, his death would have been recorded as another mysterious death of Russian in the UK, Russians would assume that their people had killed him, but there would not be enough evidence for our people to prove this. My contention is that the trail leading back to Moscow only exists or only to the the extent that it does, because they messed up. Had he died, we would possibly be scratching our heads as to how and we might not have even identified these two men, obviously they didn’t deliberately plan an incompetent operation, they thought this would work and they would get away with it.

    If he had been killed in any of the ways that you suggest that would not have sent a message to anyone if people fell for it and accepted it was just a random murder. Why did the Russian use Polonium 210 to kill Litvinenko, why did the KGB kill Georgi Markov using a modified umbrella to fire a pellet of ricin into his leg, why not a gun, a knife or just run him over with a car? In the 1950s a Ukranian KGB officer Bohdan Stashynsky assassinated two Ukranian nationalist leaders Lev Rebets and Stepan Bandera using a gun that fired a jet of cyanide. In 1954 another KGB assassin Nikolai Khokhlov was sent on a mission to West Germany to assassinate a man called Georgiy Okolovich, he went to the man’s house and told him that he had been sent by Moscow to kill him, but that he wouldn’t do it and then defected, he presented the West Germans with his weapon another cyanide gun concealed inside a cigarette packet. After his defection some his colleagues from the KGB’s Department 13 tasked with carrying out assassinations ‘wet jobs’ tracked him down they poisoned him with radioactive Thallium.

    The following is from an article in the Mirror from some years back, that just happened to be the article I picked when I looked for more details regarding Khokhlov.

    “In September 1957, attending an anti-Soviet conference in Frankfurt, West Germany, Dr Khokhlov accepted a cup of coffee he had not ordered. As he left the conference, he began suffering convulsions.”

    Remind you of anything? He fortunately realised he had been poisoned and made it to a hospital and received appropriate treatment and miraculously survived, the poisoning of Litvinenko brought back unpleasant memories.

    “When he heard of the Litvinenko case he was not surprised. “The doctors treating Litvinenko remembered my case,” Dr Khokhlov says.

    “That was why they thought at the beginning he was poisoned with radioactive thallium. But 50 years later it was radioactive polonium.”

    The point is that USSR and now Russia’s M.O. is to use unusual methods of assassination, the method in their madness was they hoped that some of the deaths would be written off as heart attacks. The use of Novichok in this case perfectly fits in with Russia’s past history. There are a lot of pieces of the jigsaw that are still missing, I don’t know if Yulia Skripal was intentionally targeted, if he had died on his own it would have been much easier to write his death of as simply unexplained and not definitely foul play, if she had died as well then it would be hard not to assume foul play. If his death was just unexplained there would not have been the huge fuss, the expulsions of diplomats etc, we would be left thinking did the Russians kill him and if so how? With no real evidence to pin anything on them.

  4. Charles

    It seems that, after conferring on him such high national honors, the Russian government is now busy trying to “unperson” Col Chepiga.

  5. Dolph

    So, we have to believe that for task like spread Novichok on door handle Russia will send 2 colonels, heros of Russia and they failed?

  6. Dolf

    You expect us to believe that for simple task like spreading Novichok on the door handle Russia should employ 2 colonels, heros of Russia( the highest reward in RF)?

    • Servus

      Two almost identical entries by almost identical nickname “Dolph” and “Dolf”, now dear employee at the Olgino, this is lazy ! This site merits best possible Russian internet diversants and not some apprentices. I know, you have quotas, job is stressful, supervisors breath at your neck and smallest mistake is fined. BTW, hope some of your collogues denounces you and you are fined, only quality manipulations are accepted.
      But to give you a plausible simple answer to your question, it is not unusual that active duty agents retire by the age of 40 and get an office/training job or join industry/government security departments. So, this was certainly meant as their last external mission, the risk of identification was known to them and they did not make effort to hide from any CCTV coverage. They were probably surprised how fast it happened and certainly taken aback by their real persons’ identification. It can be seen by the desperate actions to wipe out their images presence from the official web sites.
      But not even CCTV identification was obvious, they just did not have luck….
      They certainly knew that Scripal was relatively lonely man, spending most of his time at home. The scenario was that Scripal would get poisoned when entering home, getting unconscious and die inside. His body would have been found days, weeks, maybe several weeks later…with a very difficult forensic analysis and outside traces of novichok decomposed and washed with spring showers.
      Without exact date and time of the murder, the CCTV analysis gets exponentially more difficult. What changed the situation was arrival of Julia Scripal, the assassination plans were made in advance, recognition completed and IMHO, support team with spare nowichok (the one that was found unpacked) in place. This must have been an intelligence failure on the part of GRU but they decided to carry out as planned anyway. Julia Scripal changed his father habits and they went out for pizza, which saved them from dying at home…

  7. Dan Pallant

    I think that Novochok was designed to be nearly fatal. The Scripal affair is simply a warning to any nation that the Russians can bring an economy to its knees by spreading this stuff around cities and public places generally. You don’t kill your enemy, you disable them. The state then has to do the nursing etc.. The press will make a huge panic, as it did, and stopping the public from living normally. The thousands of ill people overwhelm the state’s ability to cope. More panic. No response is possible, short of nuclear strike, which is unthinkable. Novochok is cheap, the Salisbury affair was a trial. The operatives made no effort to hide themselves from cameras. We are sure that they were Russian. No serious effort was made to hide the source of this attack. Putin is a madman. The rank of the operatives was justified because they needed first hand experience of using the poison.

  8. Alan

    Hate to say this as you have really tried. It is a photoshop fake. Inconsistent lighting, not in date order and most damning, the pixalation doesn’t match.

    • adam

      It’s actually rather irrelevant because people in Chepiga’s home village have already identified him from images from the RT video interview and photos of him as a young man shown on Bellingcat. The Daily Telegraph sent a reporter there who wrote a detailed article siting names, addresses and details of Chepiga’s parents.

  9. Renato Tavares Barbosa Filho

    Look at the two photos you published! You can say their hair combs are alike. Yes they are, but russians adpot this hair style all over the federation, if I can say so. Now look at their forehead, they are different, the photo of Chepiga shows horizontal skin lines, and the other does not. If you notice their upper lips you will notice a groove in Boshirov´s picture, just bellow his nose. The other does not shoe the same. Look at their eyebrows, they are totally diferent. Finally, look at their left face. Boshirov shows a very small light brown spot, a pint. Chepiga does not show anything like that. For me the pictures are not of the same person.

  10. Tracey Thakore

    What an intelligent piece of writing by The GRU’s Incompetent.
    Having followed the Salisbury incident with an open yet enquiring mind, the summary is fascinating.
    The focus of the investigation should be on determining the who, the why, the how and the when.
    What is the chemical, described or labelled by the press as “Novichok,” aimed at doing?
    What is the reason, the effects and the reason for why these people were targeted?
    These are the questions that should be asked.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

You can support the work of Bellingcat by donating through the following link: