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Second Skripal Poisoning Suspect Identified as Dr. Alexander Mishkin

October 8, 2018

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Please read our full report on the life and times of Dr. Alexander Mishkin here.

In the preceding report from the current investigation into the two suspects in the Skripals poisoning case, Bellingcat and its reporting partner the Insider disclosed the identity of one of the two suspects. The person travelling under the alias of Ruslan Boshirov was identified as GRU’s Col. Anatoliy Chepiga, recipient of Russia’s highest state award.

Bellingcat can now report that it has conclusively identified the second suspect, who travelled to Salisbury under the alias Alexander Petrov. In its previous reporting, we already produced evidence that “Alexander Petrov” is not an authentic persona, but an undercover alias for an officer of a Russian security agency. In another report, we established that “Petrov” was specifically working for Russia’s military intelligence, the GRU.

We have now identified “Alexander Petrov” to be in fact Dr. Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, a trained military doctor in the employ of the GRU. Bellingcat’s identification process included multiple open sources, testimony from people familiar with the person, as well as copies of personally identifying documents, including a scanned copy of his passport. The full identification process will be described in the upcoming full report.

While Alexander Mishkin’s true persona has an even sparser digital footprint than Anatoliy Chepiga’s, Bellingcat has been able to establish certain key facts from his background.

A scanned copy of Alexander Mishkin’s passport, issued in 2001 in St. Petersburg. The passport lists his real name and place of birth as Loyga.

Who is Alexander Mishkin?

Alexander Mishkin was born on 13.07.1979 in the village of Loyga, in the Archangelsk District in Northern European Russia.  He studied and graduated from one of Russia’s elite Military Medical Academies, and was trained as a military doctor for the Russian naval armed forces.

During his medical studies, Mishkin was recruited by the GRU, and by 2010 had relocated to Moscow, where he received his undercover identity – including a second national ID and travel passport – under the alias Alexander Petrov.

In the period 2011-2018, Alexander Mishkin traveled extensively under his new identity. Bellingcat has identified multiple trips to Ukraine and to the self-declared Transnistrian Republic, the last of which as late as during the Maidan events in Kyiv in December 2013.

Unlike the case of Anatoliy Chepiga, “Petrov”’s cover identity retained most of the biographical characteristics of the authentic Mishkin – such as the exact birth date, first and patronymic name, and first names of his parents.

Until early September 2014, Mishkin’s registered home address in Moscow was Khoroshevskoe Shosse 76B – the address of the headquarters of the GRU.  In the autumn of 2014, both Mishkin and Anatoliy Chepiga moved to upscale apartments.

Alexander Mishkin current military rank is unknown. However, based on the known rank as of graduation from the Military Medical Academy (Russian military doctors graduate with a rank of senior lieutenant), and the elapsed time (15 years), it can be posited that as the time of the Skripals’ poisoning incident he was either a Lt. Colonel or a full Colonel.

Bellingcat and the Insider have interviewed multiple sources familiar with Mishkin, both in St. Petersburg and in his native Loyga.

In the full report, which will be published on Tuesday at 13:00, we will publish the full method by which Mishkin was identified, as well as witness testimony from various sources. The full report will also contain forensic evidence of the visual (facial) match between  “Alexander Mishkin” and “Alexander Petrov”

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302 Comments

  1. Markusha

    If the Bellingcat can do that, on the shoestring budget, maybe US and UK can use them for their intelligence gathering. Puck the CIA and MIs — Bellingcat rules!

    Reply
    • Chepiga

      Even though bellingcat deny that they use sources from intelligence organizations, the information that they gather does is usually uncovered by intelligence sources and not some random hackers who supposedly then dump it on torrents. I can assure you that this info was available on torrents only recently and has been passed down to bellingcat by intelligence orgs. Or do you think that BG would actually tell the truth about getting their info from actual spy agencies?

      Reply
      • Markusha

        I have no inside knowledge, but think that the government intelligence organizations, would prefer to take a full credit for the job well done, rather than passing the fame to someone.

        Reply
        • Nemo

          No, UK policy (and I’m sure for other countries) with respect to non-historical operations is ‘neither confirm no deny’; anything else gives away what you know, and the efficiency of your methods, or what you don’t know, and the inefficiency of your methods.

          However, by back channels, UK authorities say they ‘do not dispute’ BellingCat’s reports, which can be read as saying they confirm them.

          20+ years later, when historical, the agencies will freely comment on most operations.

          Reply
  2. Kremlin Troll obviously

    Love how when a person can’t win an argument they resort to calling people trolls. Funny how much people hate Russia is it hate or fear that they can create much better weaponry than us brits for 1/10th the price.
    People couldn’t even have the decency to thank them for destroying ISIS while our own planes just carried out bombing sorties on other groups. Oh shit I just realised I’m a troll because I don’t believe the BBC. We don’t murder our countries traitors do we…

    Bellingcat known for a long time to be a publisher of fake Russophobia crap. Still looking for those buk missiles u know the ones who serial numbers traced back to the Ukraine.

    Reply
    • Vlado

      Why do Russians constantly invent that someone hates them? This is a screen. In reality, people do not care. People are judged by their actions. And if someone is lying or he is naked, then it will inevitably be revealed. In Russia, the power of crime, robbed his people. The Kremlin is looking for ways to divert attention from its crimes. And from here all the nonsense of the last 5 years.

      Reply
    • Black Star

      If you say you “don’t believe the BBC” you are at least deluded, probably also a troll.

      Reply
  3. Kremlin Troll obviously

    Love how when a person can’t win an argument they resort to calling people trolls. Funny how much people hate Russia is it hate or fear that they can create much better weaponry than us brits for 1/10th the price.
    People couldn’t even have the decency to thank them for destroying ISIS while our own planes just carried out bombing sorties on other groups. Oh crap I just realised I’m a troll because I don’t believe the BBC. We don’t murder our countries traitors do we…

    Bellingcat known for a long time to be a publisher of fake Russophobia crap. Still looking for those buk missiles u know the ones who serial numbers traced back to the Ukraine.

    Reply
    • george edson

      You are full of donkey shit my man, with no real reason/evidence for posting your nonsence. Get back down the salt mine where you belong, slimball.

      Reply
    • Eddie Storey

      Ah diddums, the old “Russophobia” fallacy. Always the victim, it’s never your/their fault.

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but my wife is Russian and both a Sovok and a Putinista. Assuming you’re a Bot, you’ll know what they are. I’ve been to Russian many times and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was a client for about 5.

      So do give it a rest with the victim BS and the red herrings. Russian people are generally very pleasant. It’s the murderous, authoritarian, shamocratic regime that’s the problem.

      PS if you love Russian so much why don’t you eff off and live there? Plenty of Buks there…you’ll enjoy that.

      Reply
      • Mad Dog

        Eddie, that is exactly the point to be made. Most of the people here DO NOT HATE Russkies, but have a visceral hatred for the present Thugacracy. Easy to figure out, but a good diversion is the weapon of choice of most trolls.

        Reply
    • Neil

      ‘us brits’ love Russian actually, just not the regime. Pretty big difference..
      This is an open and shut case. Putin shouldn’t have put the gym bunnies on tv for the rest of the world to see. He cocked up.

      Reply
  4. Lyulyakiba

    Even though I applaud the work that bellingcat has done on this matter, i still strongly believe that this type of info can mainly be obtained through intelligence services. Theres no way this info was just laying around on torrents before the investigations have happened, as BG claims. And of course BG wouldnt admit that they get their info from spies, this is pretty obvious, as it would damage their future investigations.

    Reply
    • Mad Dog

      Of course it is so obvious that they get their info from intel agencies or George Soros or maybe from the GRU rivals in the FSB. BC has shown they are perfectly capable of using open source info for their articles, but trolls find happiness in trying to link them to intel agencies as a means of discrediting their street cred. Sorry boys, try again.

      Reply
    • Nobody

      And so what if it was true that their information came from intelligence agencies? Let’s say that it did. Does that make the information false? No, it does not. So, what is your point?

      Reply
      • Nemo

        Exactly Nobody (a doppelganger!, but not me! – of course ‘Nemo’ = ‘Nobody’ in Latin for any who did not know that).

        Actually, BellingCat acknowledge that they are working with The Insider (https://TheIns.Ru/), and I expect that a lot of this HumInt comes from hundreds of disaffected Russians supplying them, rather than directly to BellingCat. This HumInt resource possibly far exceeds that of those directly supplying UK intelligence services, although it reported they knew the true identities of ‘Boshirov’ and ‘Petrov’ long before BellingCat revealed them.

        One can only salute the bravery of such disaffected Russians. Putin must be mighty displeased at the massive leaks from his state of ‘Nigeria – in the snow’ (http://russialist.org/from-upper-volta-with-missiles-to-nigeria-with-snow/), and ‘accidents’ or, for the lucky, the Gulag will be being arranged for any researchers identified as having exposed ‘Boshirov’ and ‘Petrov’ – a consolation being that ‘Boshirov’ and ‘Petrov’ must surely be preceding them right now.

        Reply
  5. Blasphemer

    Btw, a Mishkin passport above would be considered as a counterfeit passport by virtually any laws enforcement officer in Russia. A head on a picture must NOT touch a red stripe. Clearly a poor Photoshop work, Bellingcat dicks.

    Reply
    • Eddie Storey

      *Квак*..”clearly” you Bots are worried. Mishkin has now been identified from these and the more recent photos by several people in his home village of Loyga in the northern permafrost region of Archangelsk, including his grandmother. His grandmother has now disappeared, surprise, suprise. The Gulag awaits her. Mishkin’s origins certainly explain why he was afraid of the “slush” in Salisbury…hehe

      So please run along now, your excuses are pathetic. Intelligent people around the world are laughing at you and your fignya.

      Reply
      • Blasphemer

        Are intelligent people around the world aware that GULAG was dismantled in January 1960? Probably not. You might be right about his grandma and other things. I don’t follow this case very closely. However, a pic above is not going to look more convincing because of it anyway

        Reply
        • Eddie Storey

          Indeed they are. They’re also familar with the concept of metaphor, or “метафора” as you would put it.

          In any case, it hardly matters if you personally remain in denial about the authenticity of one of the images. Mishkin has been identified. Oops. Now deal with it.

          Reply
          • Blasphemer

            Someone else is supposed to deal with it. I am just going to continue watching this show not jumping to any conclusions. Not yet.

  6. francesca

    just a little hint Ruslab
    Glory to Ukraine rings alarm bells to progressive westerners.
    Nationalism and fascism and all that
    Rather frowned upon

    Reply
  7. Stephen

    An excellent investigation and likely confirmation as to ‘who’s who’ in the Salisbury attack. However it would be good to see Bellingcat investigate with the same determination whether or not Yulia Skripal is an agent for the British Secret Service and had been recalled from Russia on Saturday [3.3.2018] due to her cover being compromised. This would explain the emphatic and quick reaction by Johnson and May that the poisoning was a Russian GRU [retaliatory] operation because they knew both Skripals were on the UK payroll and at least one [Yulia] being an active agent. Such an investigation might be difficult for UK based journalists because of contravening the Official Secrets Act and DSMA-Notices that have been issued pertinent to this case.

    Reply
    • Eddie Storey

      Dear Stephen…that would be a bit of red herring surely. Bellingcat’s primary mission was to establish the real identities of Chepiga and Mishkin, or rather “Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov”. The fact that they correctly calculated that they were GRU agents was stroke of good judgement, which led to their true identities being revealed quite quickly.

      In contrast, there is no doubting the identity of Yulia Skripal. She is Sergei’s daughter and not pretending to be anyone else. The rest is pure speculation.

      Reply
    • Nemo

      A (calculated?) muddying of the waters, and incoherent from start to finish.

      Julia Skripal biography (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/08/yulia-skripal-from-suburban-moscow-life-to-nerve-agent-mystery; http://uk.businessinsider.com/who-is-yulia-skripal-daughter-russian-spy-sergei-2018-3, https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5744564/yulia-skripal-daughter-russian-spy-sergei-skripal-recovery-suspects/:

      … Russian State University for the Humanities, where she studied geography, Yulia Skripal was 20 when her father was arrested in December 2004. After university, Yulia went to work at Nike customer operations representative in Moscow, leaving in 2010, after Sergei was released from prison … After serving five and a half years of his sentence, Sergei was … flown to Britain to start a new life. His family soon joined him. … 2012, when Yulia’s mother, Lyudmila, died in England. Last year, her older brother, Alexander, died …. He was buried in Salisbury, near his mother. … She returned to Russia in 2014, but continued to visit England often. She is listed [2018] as working for PepsiCo Russia in Moscow for PepsiCo. Before that she is listed as having worked at Holiday Inn in Southampton, England, Nike , and as an admission specialist at CIS Russia, a private school in Moscow. … Still wants to return home to Moscow. Openly criticised Putin on Facebook, suggesting jailing him would be a great idea.

      With father arrested as an UK agent 14 years ago, and open criticism of Putin, this is hardly a background for ‘deep cover’ as a UK agent is it? Incompetent the Russians may be, but surely not incompetent enough to have not kept on eye on her. Nor do her jobs offer any obvious opportunity for obtaining Russian secrets. Nor does her lengthy absence from Russia until 2014 offer much scope for maintaining contacts there, or obtaining Russian secrets.

      Julia’s 3/3/18 trip to UK was (from recollection) connected to the anniversary of mother or brother’s death. As she is still (from recollection) a Russian citizen then (perhaps semantically) she would not be ‘recalled’ to UK, but would be ‘called’.

      Your phrasing suggests it was a secret that one or the other of the Skripals was a UK agent, yet it is common knowledge that not only Sergei HAD been an agent, but was STILL briefing western intelligence agencies (Sunday Telegraph today carries a report of him briefing Swiss Intelligence).

      There was no ‘quick reaction’ of the UK government (or anyone else) blaming the GRU (https://cf-particle-html.eip.telegraph.co.uk/99f1b5db-27bc-451b-a85b-71d62d230fa6.html, :
      4 March, attack.
      8 March Politicians continue to speculate on Russian involvement but Prime Minister Theresa May stresses the need to give police the “time and space” to investigate.
      12 March Mrs May tells the House of Commons that the nerve agent is of Russian origin and the Government has concluded it is “highly likely” that Russia is responsible for the poisoning.
      14 March Britain asks the international Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to verify its findings that Moscow is behind the attack.
      16 March Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says it is “overwhelmingly likely” that Vladimir Putin ordered the use of the nerve agent.
      6 August US State Department concludes that Russia is behind the attacks
      5 September The Crown Prosecution Service names Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov as suspects in the poisoning.

      Conclusion: Whether Julia Skripal was, unbelievably, a UK agent pales into insignificance compared to the near killing of her and her father with a lethal poison, and the actual killing of Dawn Sturgess, and would not warrant BellingCat’s special attention, and more than any other UK (or Russian) agent.

      Reply

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