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Georgi Markov
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Author
    (March 21, 1929-September 11, 1978)
    Born in Knyazhevo, Bulgaria
    Wrote the novels 'The Night of Celsius' (1957), 'The Ajax Winners' (1959), 'Men' (1962), 'A Portrait of My Double' (1966) and 'The Women of Warsaw' (1968)
    'Men' won the annual award of the Union of Bulgarian Writers
    Left Bulgaria in 1969 and officially defected in 1971 after his passport wasn't renewed, moving to London
    Assassinated by the Bulgarian Secret Police (assisted by the KGB) at age 49
    Weapon used was an umbrella transformed into a gun that shot a tiny pellet of the poison ricin into him when the agent jabbed his thigh with the umbrella as he crossed a bridge in London
    His 1969 play 'The Man Who Was Me' and novel "The Great Roof' were anti-Communist in nature and drew unfavorable government attention to himself.
    After his defection he was sentenced in absentia to six years and six months in prison and his works were banned.
    He tried his hand in London's film industry but failed.
    He started broadcasts on Radio Free Europe in 1975 called 'In Absentia Reports' about harsh life and party censorship in Communist Bulgaria, sealing his fate.
    He had survived two previous attempts on his life but the third one succeeded (on Bulgarian president Todor Zhivkov's birthday).
    The world remembers him more for the method of his killing than his works.
    His 1974 play 'Let's Go Under the Rainbow' was well received in London and 'The Archangel Michael' won an an award at the Edinburgh Festival.
    Once free to voice his beliefs he said of Bulgarian rule, 'Lies and truths swap their values with the frequency of an alternating current. We have statesmen who have no state, politicians who have no policies, shops in which nothing is sold, writers who do not write and elections in which there is no choice.'
    Free speech got him murdered and nobody has ever stood trial for his killing.
    Ricin poisoning is extremely painful and he lingered for three days in agony before his heart stopped.
    He was posthumously honored when his daughter was presented the Order of Stara Planina, Bulgaria's highest award (December 28, 2000).
    The TV series MythBusters replicated an umbrella gun to show such a device could be made and used to kill.

Credit: Scar Tactics


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