The Notorious Umbrella Assassination of Georgi Markov: "In the Cause of Freedom"
Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset
Paying A Visit
Bulgaria's first post- Communist President and former political dissident, Zhelyu Zhelev, went to England for a five-days in February of 1991. During his visit, he did the typical head of state honors, such as, lunch with Queen Elizabeth. He did all the usual networking to bring Bulgaria into proper light by meeting with numerous business contacts and political figures.
But there was more to his visit...There was something else Zhelev felt he must do...
Bulgarian President Zhely Zhelev, had decided to also do something more personal on his last day in England. He needed to visit someone and pay his respects to a fellow countryman, who like the President himself, had to seek asylum for voicing his feelings against the one time Communist regime.
Zhelev left London and drove to Southwest England, to Dorset. To be more specific, he drove directly to a small churchyard called Whitchurch. To be even more direct the Bulgarian President went to a small cemetery at Whitchurch Canonicorum.
The President participated in a short memorial ceremony conducted by a Bulgarian priest. He walked over to one grave, a modest grave. There in reverance, President Zhelev stood quietly over the now flower covered grave; he read the epitaph on the headstone:
In Memory of
Georgi Ivanov Markov
Novelist & Playwright
Most dearly beloved By his wife Annabel
His Daughter Sasha
His Family & his Friends
Born Sofia 1. 3. 39
Died London 11 .9. 78
In the Cause of Freedom
President Zhelev then bent over and placed a wreath on the grave. He took a pause of silence. After a few moments, Zhelev stood up, turned to face the small crowd, which included Georgi Markov's beloved wife, Annabel and their young daughter, Sasha: who had all gathered around. President Zhelev said to them, "I am hopeful that Bulgarian authorities will soon reach some conclusions on who was responsible. The killing has shamed Bulgarian and mars it reputation abroad."
Still Hangs Over Bulgaria's Head
In 1994 the British Parliament asked Russia to help them find the 15 KGB agents who might have been involved in the assassination or had knowledge of the Georgi's murder....
The request remains unanswered.
In 1997 the newly elected Bulgarian President, Petar Stoyanov, made the promise in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia to the British Foreign Secretary, Malcolm Rifkind, to use all his powers to solve the case of Georgi Markov.
The Mr. Georgi Markov murder case remains officially unsolved.
No one has been brought to justice for the murder of Georgi Markov, though the primary evidence points Bulgarian and Soviet involvement.
To this day, elected officals in Bulgaria dangle the promise of solving Georgi Markov's assassination... but it seems to be a promise, that is as empty, as the prison cell that holds Georgi's killer.
Annabel Markov's 1984 interview with Don Swaim
- Audio Interview with Annabel Markov
In this 1984 interview, Annabel Markov, wife of the late writer, broadcaster and Bulgarian dissident, Georgi Markov, discusses her husband’s writings and the issues surrounding his mysterious assassination. (formatted in RealPlayer)