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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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310 Comments

  1. Eddie Storey

    Uh-oh, more bad news for the Bots and the duraki, who will now flood the Bellingcat with BS in an attempt to blow smoke up our backsides.

    Fact: A GRU officer who defects to the West (Skripal), for whatever reason, is considered a TRAITOR to the motherland, by the GRU and other Russian security services at the very least. The penalty for treason in Russia is death. [A Russian “diplomat” (actually the Ambassador’s male secretary, i.e. his bodyguard) personally said to me 6 years ago that “Litvinenko deserved to die”, his actual words. I was shocked at the time but it was an insight into the depth of Russian “patriotism” among some Russians.]

    MMO: It’s not certain that “Ruslan Boshirov” and “Alexander Petrov” (both now identified as GRU officers with the help of official Russian state photos) had the Means (the smuggled perfume bottle full of novichok that later killed an innocent civilian), but they certainly had the Motive (Skripal is a traitor and traitors deserve to die) and the Opportunity (the Russians were caught on camera 200m from Skripal’s home on the day they were poisoned). Circumstantially Russia also has form when it comes to assassinations by poison (Litvinenko etc). Finally, the timeline is perfect …:

    * Friday 2nd March 15:00, the suspects are filmed arriving at Gatwick airport for their “tourist visit to Salisbury”. Instead of travelling to Salisbury for the weekend, they check in at a hotel in East London.
    * The day after, Saturday 3rd March 14:25 the Russians are filmed arriving at Salisbury railway station;
    * Saturday 16:11, after spending less than 2 hours in Salisbury (due to the snow bwhahaha), they’re filmed leaving Salisbury railway station on their way back to London;
    * The following day, Sunday 4th March 11:48 the Russians are again filmed arriving at Salisbury railway station;
    * Sunday 11:58 they’re caught on CCTV from a petrol station 200m from Skripal’s home (1.5 km in the opposite direction from the cathedral);
    * Sunday 13:50 they catch the train back to London;
    * Sunday: 16:15 an emergency services call reports that Skripal and his daughter have been found unconscious on a public bench in the centre of Salisbury by a passing doctor and nurse;
    * Sunday 19:28 the Russians are filmed going through passport control at Heathrow Airport.

    Seems like an open-and-shut case to me. The only “fake news” is the suspect “partying in their hotel room with prostitutes” story that was planted in certain naive British tabloids that will print anything.

    The only open questions are whether Chepiga and Mishkin were on an officially sanctioned mission or a private mission of revenge. Plus of course whether they were incredibly amateurish in their execution or just didn’t care about getting identified!

    Reply
    • Frankly

      Let us assume they were on a private mission, They bought Novichok is a shop with Novichoks, they poisoned Skripals and fly to Russia causing international outrage that hit Russia, GRU and Putin personally. And they remain intact… Makse sense.

      Reply
      • Eddie Storey

        Not quite true. They’ll become “Heroes of Russia” with a large section of the population (mostly nationalists and ultra-nationalists). Putin will just deny everything the way he always does and his army of Bots and duraki will try and blow smoke up our bottoms until it all goes away.

        Reply
      • Eddie Storey

        PS…how do you know they’re “still intact”. Where are they? Has anyone seen them since their laughable RT interview?

        Reply
  2. Yeah, Right

    Two questions:
    a) Why is the serial number on the right hand side illegible?
    b) Why doesn’t the inked seal have the normal six-digit identifier?

    The illegibility of the former and the lack of the latter would suggest a forgery.

    Reply
      • Richard Edwards

        No, just people with a brain…….that one photo is clearly superimposed over the official ink stamp

        Reply
      • Yeah, Right

        That’s hardly a rebuttal, Matt. Indeed, it is nothing but an ad-hom.

        I’ll repeat this again, because this never gets old:
        a) The serial number of the passport has been made illegible.
        b) The ink seal is missing its six-digit identification number.

        Those are both facts, easily attested to by simply opening your eyes.

        Now, Bellingcat may have a perfectly valid explanation for both of those facts.

        If they do then I’d be interested in hearing those explanations.
        If they don’t then this is a forgery, and a bad one at that.

        Now, back to you….

        Reply
      • Yeah, Right

        That’s hardly a reply, Matt.

        It is an irrefutable fact that the passport that Bellingcat is showing on this site is lacking a legible serial number, and is completely lacking the 6-digit seal code that all Russian passports are supposed to possess.

        You can see that, it is posted above As Bold As Brass.

        Now, Bellingcat might have a perfectly logical explanation why that is so, but if so then I’d like to see it. If not, well, it’s hard to come to any other conclusion than that it is a forgery.

        Reply
        • Nemo

          You have a point about the serial number, and, as you say, it would be good if BellingCat gave some explanation.

          However, I don’t think ‘forgery’ stands up. If it was forgery then some number would be INSERTED, instead of an obvious area of obscurity left twice; additionally the rest of the document looks genuine. One reason for the obscurity might be that it is from a genuine Russian copy record (rather than a photo of the original) where, for internal security reasons, the passport number was obscured. The passport number merely identifies / indexes the passport document (though it can be useful for tracking people), but the photo and biographical details identify the person. I can’t think of any obvious reason why BellingCat would obscure the passport number – I think the photos are probably as they received them.

          Certainly a 6-digit seal code is not legible, but I’m not convinced there is not one there; it just looks like it might be very poorly stamped.

          Reply
    • N0mi$

      Well done bellingcat and others. The pieceing together of the trail left behind the russians is fantastic. Have people never heard of “Redaction”, the passport numbers have deliberately been obscured when published. It is so sad to think that a major world power is reduced to chasing down people who in their opinion are not worthy of living.

      Reply
  3. Dayneen

    It looks strange when small (well, not bbc like) group of journalists obtain information of highest secret in such small period of time (& from foreign country).
    Maybe their sources are in GB intelligence services?

    Reply
    • Black Star

      Or in the Russian secret services? For sure a lot of people have no love for Putin and his mafia.

      Reply
  4. Honest question

    How does bellingcat obtain scanned copies of passports and sensitive documents like that?

    It’s very impressive but i can’t see how it’s done through open source investigation.

    Reply
  5. iii

    If this claim is false it will be fairly easy for Yevgenyevich Mishkin to clear his name simply by standing in a room with “Alexander Petrov” in a neutral country. Mind you, I suspect that won’t be happening for the obvious reason. 😀

    Reply
    • Yeah, Right

      That is an excellent suggestion, except…. if the passport is a forgery then there may not be a “Yevgenyevich Mishkin”. He may well be the Alan Smithee of open-source investigative reporting.

      Sure would be nice to see that passport serial number – I for one have no idea why Bellingcat made it illegible.

      Reply
  6. No island monkey

    Publishing photos of certificates (passports) does not mean that the certificates are genuine.
    At court the authenticity of the document must be proven.

    Next week photos from the passport of GRU spy Jack the Ripper?

    Reply
  7. Frankly

    Have you ever considered finding and publishing personal data of Russian Trolls from their Troll Factory?

    Reply
  8. Mr I.Collin

    our grand-daughter was groomed by a Canadian alleged
    Hacker Curtis Gervais and absconded to there on the 5th
    Feb2017.We have not been able to get any information from
    our British Authorities about her well being. Her name is Georgia Barry we believe she has changed it to Marissa Gervais living in Ottawa.How much would charge to trace her?

    Reply

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