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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

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  1. Adrian Kent

    It’s rather ironic to see so many commentors here telling the Russians / Putin what to do to disprove whatever it is that’s being claimed – bring out the people
    side-by-side etc. I’m not disagreeing that this would be a good thing, but that surely must work both ways.

    The UK government could clear up all sorts of apparent inconsistencies in their version of events very simply – here’s just a few off the top of my head:

    They could have countered the arguments about the airport time-stamps by releasing more of the videos.
    They could confirm whether or not the Skripal’s house had a CCTV – the ‘news’ that MI6 bought the house for him and he was still working with them strongly suggests he would – it would be reckless and/or negligent for him not to have any extra security, especially if he was a spooked as his friend says that he was – but they won’t confirm either way) They could publish more of the high quality CCTV images we know that they have of the parks, the duck feeding and elsewhere that day.
    They could tell us why their time-line is so vague and why the order of events does not match the original reports (Zizzis then the Mill or the other way round?).
    They could tell us why Mr Skripal didn’t want to contect his mother – who has celebrated her 90th birthday recently.
    There may be perfectly reasonable answers to all of these (although I can’t think of any regarding the CCTV issues), but it’s a little rich to demand action of just the Russians alone.

    And on the point of the security (or lack of it) at the Skripal’s house – if we are to believe that it was Chepiga who conducted this alleged botched hit – does his rank and experience make it more or less likely that he would do this by approaching the house of his MI6 asset target in broad-daylight with a method guaranteed to bring attention to himself and blame on his home country? Do you think he might have assumed that it would be monitored and his movements around it recorded? Did it not worry him at all that Sergei might have some kind of hotline or red button that could bring down all sorts of shit on him?

    I remain unconvinced whether it was Chepiga or not, but if itwas, then he’s a bit of a dimwit.

    • Black Star

      You are getting things wrong from the beginning. It is not the “UK government” version of happenings, this was all investigated by the police. Here in western world, be can trust our police and officials to a very high degree, unlike in Russia where you can get even get away with murder if you have enough money and power – and if you have neither, you will be victimized even if you are in reality innocent.

      I can tell you are a russian from your constant claiming “from the up”, i.e. you believe everything is governed from the very top, and the constant belief in massive government conspiracies – because in Russia the reality is exactly that.

      I am sad that a whole generation of russians have had to grow up and live in an environment where they can not trust their officials and government in anything. Living in a constant lie must be mentally very taxing for an individual.

      • Adrian Kent

        @Black Star. OK then, we must believe the Metropolitan Police who stated categorically in their press conference that they have no evidence that the two suspects were GRU agents. Thanks for clearing that up.

        • Volo

          Yes. They have no evidence that those two are GRU agents, but THEY HAVE NO EVEIDENCE THAT THEY ARE NOT.

          Police is traditionally conservative about pointing fingers. Theresa May is the official who isn’t.

          • Adrian Kent

            @volo & @Black Star – I think you need to gen up on the notion of “burden of proof” in this matter.

            Theresa May has all sorts of reasons to jump ahead of the evidence here – and is in a position herself to provide a great deal more of it to the public (CCTV, comments from Skripals etc). My point was that most commentors on this site seem to think it’s only up to Putin/The Russians to respond to this (and I think they probably should) – but for exactly the same reasons it is also up to the UK Gov to present evidence that we know they have that could account for the MANY AND OBVIOUS inconsistencies in their narrative.

        • Black Star

          “or exactly the same reasons it is also up to the UK Gov to present evidence”

          They have done exactly that, but for some reason you have trouble accepting that, instead you spend your time speculating on people’s motives. One might think that you have no proof for your *own* claims, thus it is you who has a suspicious motive.

    • The GRU's Incompetent

      The airport time stamps is a non issue, it simply comes down to understanding how the barriers seen in the Gatwick photos work. Lots of conspiracists first alleged that the two men were photographed in the same spot but close examination of the photos shows clearly that they were not, that they were filmed in different corridors. They then suggested that the identical time stamps showed that the photos must be fake, though they never explained why if someone faked the photos they would add identical time stamps. The time stamps are actually easy to explain the barriers are synchronised so that they all open at exactly the same time, arriving passengers are send down different corridors and then let through at the same time. Hence the time stamps are the same Gatwick Airport has confirmed that this is how they work when asked about this. When the two men were asked about these photos in the RT interview they lied, they said that when they go through passport control they always go through together because one of them speaks much better English, but the set up at Gatwick does not allow people through together. People who decided from the start that they did not believe what they were being told about these events, have a tendency to see everything as evidence of conspiracy, rather than looking to see if there is a rational explanation. The Gatwick photos illustrate this point very well, it is not the governments job to clear up conspiracy theories invented by the likes of Craig Murray.

      As to the question of other CCTV images it maybe the case that there are other images even that there was a camera on his house, if this is the case then the investigation has simply decided not to release these images at this point. There many reasons for not doing so, one reason evidence is being held back is so as not to jeopardise a trial should there ever be one, they don’t want every detail in the public domain making it difficult to hold a fair trial. They also they don’t want to give away to the Russians every single thing that we know, thus giving the Russians plenty of opportunities to lie, so that we can then catch them out.

      Why would they have done this in broad daylight?

      First I should say that we, that is the public do not know for certain that these men Chepiga and Petrov (whoever he is) actually committed the crime. However, have an image of the two men taken at 11:58 by CCTV camera on a Shell garage on Wilton Rd, if you wish to do so you can look at this garage on Google Street View and if you pan across Wilton Rd you can see the entrance to a footpath, you can see on Google Earth that this goes through a line of trees. If you then look at a walking map of Salisbury which you can find on the Visit Wiltshire website, you can see that the path turns to the right and comes out of the trees onto a road a cul de sac called Montgomery Gardens it then takes you straight on to Christie Miller Rd and practically right to Skripals house. So, what we the public know for sure at least those of us who’ve looked into this case, is that the men were filmed a few minutes walk from his house in broad daylight, the distance from the garage to his house via this footpath is under 500 yards. I should then add that Skripals maroon BMW was captured by CCTV on India Avenue at 13:33 a few seconds drive away from his house, before anyone says they didn’t go home that day.

      Now to the question, if the men applied the poison it would only have taken a few seconds to do so, two men walking up to a house spending a few seconds at the door and then walking away would not be suspicious to casual observers. They went to the house to see Skripal rang the bell, no one was in so they left and went on their way, if there was a CCTV camera on the house that just showed them come to the door but not applying the poison, only someone from the SIS reviewing the footage would question if the men had really just come to see Skripal and found he wasn’t in and walked away. If the poison had killed him as expected and her (though we don’t know if they intended to kill her as well), it is possible that medics would have struggled to establish the cause of death. If the poison was on the door handle it’s reasonable to assume that he Skripal would have touched the poison on the way into his house, they perhaps thought that he would die inside, so it could have taken a long time for the body to be found. I would think they were hoping that Skripal’s death would be just another case of a Russian dying in mysterious circumstances in the UK.

      The objective was send a message to other traitors and perspective traitors that you will be hunted down but at the same time maintaining plausible deniability, leaving some evidence but not sufficient to determine for certain that these men did it or that Russia definitely did it. If we had reason to believe he had died from foul-play then we would have started to look at the possibility that Russians had assassinated him, but we might not necessarily have spotted these men or not have enough evidence to really pin the crime on them. We have so many CCTV cameras in the UK that they are impossible to avoid, they could not avoid being filmed at the airport or the station and could not know where all of the CCTV cameras in Salisbury are to try and dodge them. I would imagine they were happy to let themselves be filmed because they thought that we might not identify them if we were unsure of how Skripal had died and they may have thought there’s nothing we could do if we did identify them in any case. It’s only the images from the camera on the Shell garage that are fairly damning because of the proximity to his house,

      • Adrian Kent

        That’s a great long list of ifs-and-buts, but none of it’s very convincing. Do you realise how many hoops you have to jump through to accept that position? For 3 weeks after the alleged attacks, all the reports focused on an attack outside of the house – not least because their simultaneous collapse after no-apparent symptoms point comprehensively to it.

        Were there any evidence at all of anyone approaching the house it would have been produced. Now we hear Sergie was an MI6 asset – which begs the question why he took not even the most minimal of security measures (i.e. CCTV on his own gaff).

        There are plenty of very good reasons why the CCTV should have been released – not least public safety – apparently they were potentially leaving a trail of deadly nerve agent acros the city. As for jeopodising future proceedings – I’m not sure where you’re from, but for many years in this country, there was a BBC TV programme called Crimewatch, where such CCTV and reconstructions were used extensively to try to catch criminals on prime-time TV – it wasn’t a problem then, and it isn’t one now.

        You’re asking us to take a great deal on trust from the British security services and Tory government. After their proven lies on Iraq, Libya, the infiltration of peaceful left organisations with undercover police, HIlsborough and any number of other miscarriages of justice they need more than what they’ve provided so far to prove their case.

        • adam

          Wrong. It is the Police who have gathered the evidence and charges and presented it to the Crown Prosecution Service. Not all of it is in the public domain. It’s not a game show or trial by media. They have made the decision there is enough evidence to stand a realistic chance of conviction for conspiracy to murder in a court of law.

        • The GRU's Incompetent

          Adrian Kent “Do I realise how many hoops you have to jump through to accept that position?” No I don’t you will have to enlighten me, because I’m not aware of any, and I doubt there are a fraction of the number needed to believe any of the silly conspiracies being suggested. I’m not that interested in what their symptoms point to, I’m not an expert on nerve agents and I don’t suppose you are and neither of us no the precise timings of what happened or exactly how it happened, there are too many unknown factors to form an opinion, I do know that the highest concentration of Novichok was on his front door handle, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary I will assume that was the source of the poison. And although I’m not an expert I have some knowledge of toxic chemicals and can easily think of a number of ways that they could have applied the nerve agent without the need for anything more than a pair of gloves for protection.

          “Were there any evidence of anyone approaching the house it would have been produced” not necessarily they may have very good reasons for keeping that evidence out of the public domain. If there were genuine safety concerns that could be addressed by releasing CCTV then they would have released that CCTV as for Crimewatch they didn’t tend to feature crimes involving national security, the secret intelligence services and Russian spies. There are as I have said many reasons why we would not have released all of the evidence. Russia never extradites it citizens so no matter what evidence we have these two men will never be brought to the UK for trial, I presume when they first identified the two men they kept the information back, hoping they might leave Russia to go somewhere else. We would have shared their passport details with all of our allies and If they travelled to somewhere in Europe the fact that their passports had been used again would’ve been flagged and then we could have asked that country to arrest them. You can’t compare this case to some ordinary criminal case that would feature on Crimewatch and I would suggest that it is quite normal in all cases not to make all of the evidence public to avoid the risk of prejudicing the trial.

          “Now we hear Skripal was an MI6 asset” No we don’t we’ve known from the start that he was an MI6 asset the sole reason he is in this country is because he was a MI6 asset. When the US arrested a whole lot of Russian ‘illegals’ back in 2010 it was agreed with Russia that there would be a spy swap when such exchanges happen it is customary to exchange a matching number of ‘assets’ the US didn’t have enough people they want to get out, so they asked our gov/MI6 if there was anyone we wanted and they requested Skripal and another Russian I forget his name both of them came here. Skripal was a hugely important asset because his recruitment was the first time MI6 had successfully penetrated the GRU he provided an absolute goldmine of information and allegedly blew the covers of 300 Russian agents.

          “You’re asking us to take a great deal on trust from the British security services” why? past mistakes have no relevance to this specific case and the majority of the lies with regard to Iraq came from the Labour government of the day and the American government. Many of these lies regarding the existence of WMDs originated from exiled Iraqi opposition leaders who claimed to have contacts in Iraq who had seen the chemical factories and weapons, they wanted war because they knew they could never bring down Saddam without a war. Foremost amongst them was Ahmed Chalabi much if not most of the dodgy intelligence came from him, after the invasion he held various senior positions in the new government. The mistake that MI6 and others made was bow to political pressure and not make it clear that the intelligence was as they new it was suspect and they should have thrown it out. Blair and some of his colleagues however were determined to join America in a war and put pressure on the SIS to produce the necessary evidence. This sorry saga caused irreparable damage to MI6’s reputation as your comment illustrates, in this case they will have made absolutely sure that any intelligence they provide to the government is rock solid. They would not furthermore participate in some daft government conspiracy to discredit Russia. My opinion of this case is based on evidence and known facts all of which are in the public domain. I Unlike other people I don’t assume because other governments have lied in the past the present one must be lying or that because politicians lie all the time that everything they say must be a lie. I have seen no evidence that our side is lying, discounting politicians making the odd silly statement, I mean actual premeditated bare-faced lies.
          I have on the other hand seen more than a few blatant Russian lies.

          As that BBC article on the Gatwick CCTV images makes clear, the Russians have been cleverly manipulating conspiracy theorist to do their job for them and sow confusion so that no one knows what to believe. Besides the point about Gatwick, the Russians only know what we know because of following the investigation, so if hypothetically they were actually entirely innocent then they only know what happened on the 4th of March from following the investigation. Their spokes people have stated very clearly that the Skripals left home at 09:15 and then never went home again on the 4th of March, yet no one from the police has ever said this at all, they have only ever said that they could not account for all of the Skripal’s movements on the day. And they have the CCTV of his car which indicates but does not prove that they went home so Russia has presented a false claim, again to convince conspiracy theorists that the UK is lying.

          • Adrian Kent

            The big hoop you have to jump through – and you apparently have – is the one that has you accepting that the UK Government, The Press and ‘our’ security services are working in the best interest of truth and justice and that’s simply does not hold water. Past ‘mistakes’ are very much relevant here. Even if our intelligence services were entirely trustworthy, May & Johnson were proclaiming the Russian’s guilt way before any serious investigation could have taken place.

            In relying on the ‘publicly available’ evidence you have to jump through the hoop of ignoring the DSMA notices, the hoop of ignoring the fact that the early reports contradict the police’s time-line, the hoop of not raising an eyebrow to the claim that nerve-agent hands could pass bread to boys who ate it with no ill effects but later contaminated a table so heavily that it had to be burned, the hoop that the Skripals only touched one door-handle in the city, the hoop of not being bothered that all the alleged witnesses have essentially been disappeared by the State and have made only a couple of bizarre statements – and on and on and on.

            And yes, it is a hoop to jump through to believe that their simultaneous collapse (so simultaneous that neither had the chance to raise the alarm for the other) could have been caused by a dermal exposure from an OP nerve agent received some hours earlier. It is a hoop because no expert has gone public stating the likelihood of this event – we’ve had reasonable explanations as to why they weren’t killed, and partial explanations that dermal effects may not cause immediate symptoms, but not a single one explaining how the Skripals were affected as they were. The UK government have provided none (Alex Thomson of Channel 4 has confirmed this on twitter). On the other hand we have informed statements that this is implausible (see The Briefing Notes at Prof Tim Haywards Blog – they consulted an eminent US toxicologist). To accept a position that NO expert has publically supported over one that other experts have described as implausible – is definitely jumping through a hoop.

            We do know from the Government’s time line & CCTV timestamps that the 2 Russians only had a half-hour window to get to the Skripal’s house and that the Skripal’s must have touched the door-handles less than an hour later – and that they they remained symptom free (at least enough to have a few pints, a meal and a stroll) – so we definitely can draw conclusions from this – and that is that they were likely attacked at the bench.

            There’s also the hoop of believing that the GRU are somehow both scheming AND imcompetent. That their Colonels are reckless, pot-head, party-boy, whore users, but ours are beyond reproach. Personally I wouldn’t trust either of them – they’re in the lying business – to point out the flaws in the arguments of one side is not to support the other.

            You also are conflating the relatively measured statements of the UK police (no evidence of GRU involvement) with the more lurid claims of May, Bojo, Javid, the Red-Tops and our gap-year Defence Secretary (whose name escapes me at the moment.).

    • Stewart

      These are very good points, Adrian Kent. The UK’s scenario, which has Petrov and Boshirov, the Asinine Assassins yomping around Salisbury with a leaky bottle of novichok searching for Mr Skripal’s front door, is not credible.

        • Stewart

          Stewing the English is illegal, even in Russia, I believe. The very idea is certainly horrific.

      • The GRU's Incompetent

        Stewart the UK doesn’t have a scenario, what we have is based on evidence, your leaky bottle of Novichok is purely a silly invention on your part. The men were photographed under 500 yards walk from Skripal’s house and you think it’s not credible that they went to his house. You think it’s more likely that they walked out of Salisbury station as we know that they did and then failed to spot the huge cathedral with the tallest spire in the UK that they had come 1000s of miles to see, that is only half a mile from there and clearly visible. Then they walk off go the wrong way don’t realise that they are walking the wrong way and just happened by pure accident to end up that close to his house. It’s one thing to say there’s no evidence that they applied the poison which is true at least there’s no evidence of that in the public domain, it’s quite another to say they weren’t involved at all because that really isn’t credible. The fact that the explanations they gave in their interview were seriously implausible and as pointed out above they lied about their arrival at Gatwick clearly indicates they were up to something.

        This attack on the Skripals was the first use of a chemical weapon in Europe since WW2 the authorities dealing with the situation had never had to deal with anything like this before so it’s not a great surprise that they were making it up as they went along some of the time. I have no doubt that the authorities were exercising the maximum degree of caution in trying to ensure all of the apparent contamination was cleaned up, as they didn’t know if any of it would if left cause other people to get sick. Even if any residue might not deliver a fatal dose the last thing they would want is to have people turning up at the hospital sick, because they had been in contact with something that the Skripals had touched. They couldn’t take any risk because they didn’t know just what the risk was having never had to do anything like this before, I wouldn’t be surprised if therefore the degree of contamination was not nearly as great as suggested by the media, the authorities were just by necessity being over cautious.

        • Stewart

          Incompetent, of course there is evidence that P & B tried to poison Mr Skripal. According to the UK scenario, which in spite of your protestations is very real, novichok was found in their hotel room in Bow and also in the bloodstream of Mr Skripal and his daughter. Given that novichok was so rare that many reputable scientists didn’t even believe it existed, that is pretty damning evidence in my book…..if I accept the evidence in the first place.
          So how did novichok contaminate the hotel room if the Slapstick Saboteurs did not return to the hotel after the attempted murder (as per the UK scenario)….unless the room was contaminated before the murder attempt? Presumably the specially adapted perfume bottle was a sophisticated delivery system and designed not to “leak” before it was required to deliver its fatal dose to the door knocker. So how did novichok get into the hotel room?
          As I’ve commented elsewhere on this site, I believe that P & B were involved, in some way, in the Skripal attempted murder though I would be astonished if they were bona fide GRU operatives engaged in a serious, government-controlled, political assassination. They are simply too stupid and the UK’s step-by-step scenario too ridiculous to believe.
          We rightly laugh at their daft story of visiting Salisbury cathedral but find the alternative, that Moscow’s answer to Cheech and Chong were really there to carry out a sophisticated political assassination on behalf of the intelligence services of one of the world’s superpowers, more believable.
          Really? This pair travelled by plane from Russia to London, on passports that the UK tells us were dodgy GRU-linked passports, getting filmed and photographed all the way, then organised, according to the UK scenario, a wild drug and alcohol-fuelled sex party with prostitutes in their hotel room in Bow, somehow leaving traces of novichok, a nerve agent that is primarily associated with Russia (according to the UK scenario), all over the room, went off in the morning to “reccy” Salisbury and were filmed and photographed doing so, went back to the hotel but returned the next day to smear/squirt the Skripal’s door handle, at their MI6-bought house, with the world’s most deadly substance before heading straight to Heathrow and home to Russia, leaving a botched mission and diplomatic carnage in their wake.
          Sorry, everybody. Though I believe that the “tourists visiting the cathedral” story is laughable, it is actually marginally more believable than the one the UK government and media are expecting us to swallow!
          We are expected to take all the UK-led “evidence” on trust but the media presentation, whether it is hackers in The Hague (2 in March, 4 in April oops!), peasants in Russian villages or photos of “heroes” in military museums, has been utterly uncritical.

          • The GRU's Incompetent

            Sorry Stewart but you keep referring to the UK scenario, there is no such thing. The implication of what you are claiming is that the UK media are engaged in some kind of plot, according to media reports the two men had a drug and sex party in their hotel room. That story to my knowledge originated from other guests at the hotel, it has nothing to do with the government, unless you are claiming it is fake it’s not part of any scenario. Their behaviour seems implausible for so say professional assassins, but it’s more implausible that our people would make it up, perhaps the witnesses could have done so, if they were paid for their accounts, but I would assume that was not the case and that there is some basis to the story.

            “Of course there is evidence that P & B tried to poison Skripal” I’m not sure what your point is, I only said that there is no evidence in the public domain of them actually applying the poison to the door handle or being at the house. We have only been told that they were filmed close to the house, if there was a camera on the house that filmed them that has not been made public, the evidence that has been released only indicates that they could have done it. I have only ever stated, that based on the evidence they were involved in the plot, which is what you have just said.

    • Grubbie

      Every one else thinks he does and the evidence is overwhelming. Get back under your bridge with your no evidence, burden of proof twisted logic bullshit.No Russian evidence can now overcome the evidence provided by the UK government, Bellingcat, etc.Even your tiny deflections such as lighting reflections are easily defeated by the clearly visible glass cabinet and multiple photos of the same thing.

      • Hefaistos

        Grubbie: “…the evidence is overwhelming.”
        The only evidence regarding the claim that Borishov is Chepiga, is that photo from the old passport application. There is NO provinience as to where it came from, who provided it. We are just asked to believe it when Bellingcat is made to believe it is from the real application made by the real Chepiga.
        I wouldn’t rush to conclusions here, but wait for more evidence, from verifiable sources. Not least because Bellingat is known for a manipulative approach, and in some cases are alleged for faking evidence, or at least publish evidence that has been faked by their sources. Bellingcat’s main ambition is not to find the truth, but to create agenda-driven ‘truth’.

    • Black Star

      You made too brave a claim. The pictures certainly resemble each other. So a hint: instead of a flat out denial, you should continue with the “but their ears are of slightly shape” -line.

      • concerned citizen

        Looks like a different person, simple as that. Looks older than the real ‘Boshirov’ for a start.

        • Grubbie

          There will never be enough proof for you,just like a flat earther. Just one of many clues is the fact if you rang the telephone number on the paperwork (as many journalists did)the Russian ministry of defence answers

          • concerned citizen

            Oh the mattress firm’s phone number? I rang that a few times myself but got no answer. Guess the ‘journalists’ got lucky.

          • concerned citizen

            Bellingcat claimed the 495 number was the right one though. Don’t you read Bellingcat articles?

            I’ve phoned both numbers multiple times and there’s no answer.

    • Jeroen

      What about the photo of the sam guy on his 6.5.2009 issued drivers licence in Khabarovsk he provided himself, not only looks the same.
      It is him!

  2. Volo

    @Black Star & @Adrian Kent,
    Perhaps they are not disclosing all they’ve got due to undisclosed nature of the investigation?

    We have witnessed (both with MH17 and Litvinenko poisoning) how Russia is quick to come up with damage control and spoiling evidence.

    It would be unreasonable to believe that Metropolitan Police disclosed all they’ve got, but I’d say there is no reason do disbelieve information they have officially disclosed here:

    • Black Star

      For somebody familiar with Russian history, nothing of this is anything new.

      When ever the secret services are in power in Russia, their whole foreign policy becomes a web of lies. That is simply how the people in secret service think, they think their job is to hide the truth and replace it with a convenient lie if the truth might even slightly damage Russian interests. And believe me, there are plenty of truths they feel they need to hide.

      Problem is, once you start lying, you get entangled in it. You need a new lie to cover the earlier one, and another lie after that… soon nothing is real and nobody can be trusted. Lies damage most those who tell them.

      And as has been through history, time will always uncover the lie and separate truth from fiction. That is why looking back at Russian history the methods are so easy to see.

      Using outright lies as propaganda is an old Russian propaganda method – admitted, other governing bodies in other countries have done similar things. Wasn’t it mr. Goebbels who said that the bigger the lie the easier it is to believe.

      It is the same here: when our comrades from the east resort to their small bickering and tiny distortions, those lies are easy to spot. But then they tell the biggest of lies, how can you disprove those?

      The same strategies, and tactics inside the strategies, have been in use for centuries. Take for example the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a very successfull, but completely fabricated lie manufactured by the Russian secret service during the time of the Czar.

      • Grubbie

        Unfortunately Putin has got “only “a 58% approval ratings as nabbing the Crimea proved to be very popular. Eventually its going to dawn on them why they have so many resources and a highly educated workforce, yet are so poor.

    • timtim

      Sequentially numbered passports. Claimed they were just on holiday.

      Why does that sound familiar?

  3. David K. Peers

    Here’s some questions that their answers could shed some light on UK actions after the ‘attack’.

    I’ve looked everywhere on the web and cannot find out what happened to the first policeman on the scene since he was released from hospital in late March.

    Where is DS Nick Bailey?
    Where is his family?
    Is Bailey back at work?
    How is his health?
    Where are all the British Hero ‘human interest’ stories in the media?
    Why did they buy Bailey’s house?
    Where did his cars go when the army(?) loaded them up and took them away?
    Why was a detective sergeant the first cop on the scene?
    Apparently Bailey tried to resuscitate the Skripals with CPR. Is this how he was poisoned? Also, apparently he attended the search after at the Skripal’s home. Was this where he was poisoned? What happened to the other officer the press reported poisoned? What happened to the 21 people reported to be treated for medical aid at the time of the poisoning.

    We can go ’round and ’round on these two Russians but they didn’t have anything to do with these questions. Does anyone have the answers?


    • adam

      If you read the OPCW report on their website they say they took blood samples directly from 3 people at Salisbury hospital and took them to Switzerland for analysis. They took a further 2 in the second incident. All 5 matched, the same nerve agent was identified. Baily was one of them, no one else was poisoned.
      I expect he is still on leave. If you are interested why don’t you contact his Police station ?
      Note: the full report with chemical analysis is for Governments only (including Russia) but here is the summary

    • The GRU's Incompetent

      DS Nick Bailey asked for privacy and he was given it, we don’t know what the long term effects of this poisoning are, so we don’t know how it has affected his health, he may well still be on leave, I would assume that the UK press have been told to respect his privacy and have done so. A court case is perhaps unlike since Russia never extradites its citizens but if there is a trial he would likely be called upon to testify and I am sure he would. They will have decided to keep his whereabouts secret so as not have people turning up on his doorstep, the major UK newspapers, TV and radio might respect his privacy, but other people particularly those inclined to believe in conspiracies or Russian journalists might well be tempted to try and talk to him. A Russian journalist tried to sneak into the Salisbury District Hospital while the Skripals were there and they also tried to get into the London hotel I recall, so I wouldn’t put it past them to try and doorstep Nick Bailey if they knew his address.

      Other people who reported to the hospital fearing exposure to the Novichok were given the all clear, so the 21 people or how ever many it was, were never sick and so weren’t treated, they were just sent home. The other officer reported poisoned was a false alarm, the media reported that he had been poisoned without waiting for confirmation, he too was given the all clear by the hospital. It is the nature of today’s media especially in the internet age, to print unconfirmed stories that are just speculation, to avoid getting scooped by the competition if it turns out to have been true.

        • The GRU's Incompetent

          I don’t know why they bought his house, maybe it was decided that it was best if he moved to a new address to make a little harder to track him down, as far I am aware it was only reported in the media that the government would buy his house, not the reason why. I don’t think anyone knows quite what the long term affect of Novichok will be on his health, although he so say recovered he may not be well enough to return to work and his life may well be considerably shortened or he will at least have on going health problems. There could be any number of reasons that don’t require one to concoct some sort of conspiracy, so unlike many I don’t find it odd that we haven’t heard from him or that government may have bought his house.

  4. Stewart

    Incompetent, why don’t you just read what I wrote? It would save you an awful lot of waffling.
    How did the hotel room in Bow become contaminated with novichok?

    • Jeroen

      What information did the GRU want to steel from hacking the OPCW in The Hague April 2018?

    • The GRU's Incompetent

      Well Stewart I would presume because the two men staying there were carrying Novichok with them. How they contaminated the room I don’t know, they might have been transferring some of it from one container to another for some reason. If they were wearing plastic gloves they could handle the nerve agent quite safely if they were careful no need for other protective clothing, perhaps they got a tiny amount on the gloves and then tried to wash it off. That might seem slightly unlikely, but the alternative is either that there was no Novichok in the hotel and it’s all a lie or the Novichok was planted there, those two propositions are in my view ludicrous. My understanding is that the traces found were minute because the equipment used by Porton Down is extremely sensitive, the amount was considered too small to pose a danger to anyone, the police did not want to alert the two men that they were tracking them, so they didn’t inform the media or turn up at the hotel in hazmat suits. I would guess that at the time, the police hoped that the two suspects unaware that they had been “identified” might travel out of Russia to another country, we could then alert the authorities there and have them arrested. After a while they concluded that was unlikely so took a different approach and released the CCTV etc.

      • adam

        I think is was probably carried into the UK in binary form. These 2 inert substances wouldn’t cause havoc if opened by UK Customs on entry.
        The mixing happened on Sunday morning in the hotel room leaving trace elements.

      • Servus

        We con only speculate about origin of the novichok traces in the hotel room. My guess is that they might have assembled and checked if the spray bottle worked, could have been done safely with protecting gloves and under running water.

        They might have also carried with them some miniscule traces of novichok from Russia, a contamination from visiting the poison factory or a real life exercise.
        There are reports of soil contamination round the former soviet nerve agent development sites.


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