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The Notorious Umbrella Assassination of Georgi Markov: "In the Cause of Freedom"

Updated on February 15, 2009

Whitchurch Canonicorum, Dorset

Whitchurch Canonicorum or Whitechurch Canonicorum is a village in south-west Dorset, England, situated in the Marshwood Vale five miles northwest of Bridport.  The church is noteworthy as containing the only shrine to have survived the Reformation wi
Whitchurch Canonicorum or Whitechurch Canonicorum is a village in south-west Dorset, England, situated in the Marshwood Vale five miles northwest of Bridport. The church is noteworthy as containing the only shrine to have survived the Reformation wi
Georgi Markov's Grave  Whitchurch Canonicorum in Dorset
Georgi Markov's Grave Whitchurch Canonicorum in Dorset

About Whitchurch

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."

Georgi Markov
Georgi Markov

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.


Submit a Comment

  • St.James profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    Somebody has the answers, or deadmen tell no tales. The answers or somewhere.

  • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

    Cindy Lawson 

    9 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

    A mystery that I would love the solution to, as I am sure many others would also.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Justice is rare in the modern world.

  • foxility profile image


    9 years ago

    You're right it willl always remain an intriguing mystery.

  • Big Brother profile image

    Alex Valis 

    9 years ago from Earth

    Great hub with mystery and many answers...

  • St.James profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    I think it will be a case of "taking it to the grave." It will alway remain a mystery, and the proverbial "Thorn in the side" for Bulgaria.

  • LondonGirl profile image


    9 years ago from London

    Personally, I doubt anyone will get prosecuted for this, and the truth will only come out after they are all dead.


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