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Author`s books
About the authorBooksGeorgi Markov`s casePiccadilly fileThe archives of the SSSContacts
Introduction (The Double Life of Agent Piccadilly) E-mail
In 1999-2005 when I was working on my documentary book, “Kill the Wanderer – Bulgarian and British state policy regarding the Georgi Markov case”, the only archive in Bulgaria which was still unresearched was the archive of the First Main Directorate (FMD) of the State Security Service (SSS). The reason for this was the lack of desire of the directors of the National Intelligence Service, the legal successor to the FMD, to implement the law and hand over the archives of the intelligence services of the communist regime in Bulgaria to the State Archive. This refusal to observe the laws compelled me to address my requests through the court system. The two decisions of the Sofia Municipal Court and the Supreme Administrative Court in 2006 and 2007 most categorically upheld my right to access to the most important documents relating to the writer murdered in 1978 in London. The court decisions were unprecedented in Bulgarian legal history since the court for the first time opened the doors to the most secret structure in the SSS – the intelligence services. In order to stress the huge significance of the two court decisions I will recall the words of Georgi Markov’s father. In 1972 when the writer was sentenced in absentia to six and a half years in prison at the insistence of the communist authorities, Ivan Markov, Georgi’s father wrote to him in London, “I am sure that those who are sentencing you now will rehabilitate you one day”. I think that the Bulgarian courts did just that.

When one takes into account the fact that for a period of 18 years the archives of the former FMD were completely closed and all the political majorities elected to government since the fall of the communist regime without exception did not deviate from this policy, these first accessible documents of the communist intelligence service’s archives of the Zhivkov regime are particularly valuable. Their value is the more inestimable since they are the key materials relating to the involvement of the FMD in the murder of Georgi Markov.

Therefore, the book which the reader is now holding in his hands is based primarily on the archives of the communist intelligence services. I was granted access to nearly 100 volumes which could be divided into two parts. One part was the file of the only person suspected of involvement in the case – FMD agent “Piccadilly” and the other part, the larger, were documents from the official archives of the intelligence services. The significance of the Piccadilly files is determined not only by the fact that he was the only suspect in the case, but also by the fact that in 1993 the British and Danish authorities were denied access to them. On the basis of these archive documents the international investigation should have been able to arrest Piccadilly and clarify his role with regard to Markov’s assassination. The value of this file is made yet clearer by the fact that Scotland Yard requested access to it again in 2008.

The second group of documents from the FMD archive can be divided into four basic areas:
  • documents from the 04 counter intelligence department (04 CID) who were responsible for investigations into Georgi Markov;
  • documents from the FMD relating to the “hostile” émigrés and ideological diversion;
  • documents relating to cooperation between the FMD and the KGB;
  • documents relating to the BBC and Radio Free Europe.

Other documents from the Central State Archive and the Ministry of the Interior archives were also used, as well as quotes and interviews published in “Kill the Wanderer”. They, however, are an auxiliary rather than primary element.

In order to provide an easy introduction into the subject each of the main chapters in the book will contain certain other texts. They cast more light on the history of the Piccadilly files, the court battles for access to them, the contents of the documents therein as well as the main elements for suspicion against the agent.

Also for the benefit of the reader there are two appendices. The first consists of documents and is in the middle of the book. It contains graphic, photographic and documentary materials.  There are graphics which illustrate the profile of Piccadilly, meetings with him, his key journeys, funds which were paid to him, and sums of money expended on meetings with the intelligence services during the period 1976-1990. There are photographs from the agent’s files and facsimiles of the more important documents contained therein, and facsimiles of FMD plans for the disarming of Georgi Markov and documents which confirm the involvement of the KGB in the case.

The second appendix follows the last chapter of the book. It is a short biography of Georgi Markov and the story of his assassination, the Bulgarian investigation into case after 1989; certain explanatory texts about the archives of the SSS, its structures, the structure of the FMD. It also contains interviews with the Bulgarian investigator, Bogdan Karaiotov, and the lawyers, Kiril Terziiski and Alexander Kashamov.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Comunitas foundation which supported the writing of this book, its translation into English and the project for the website which will present my documentary investigations into the Georgi Markov case in English.

I would also like to thank the “Access to Information Programme” Foundation for assisting me in my struggle to gain access to the archives of the FMD and in person to their lawyers, Alexander Kashamov and Kiril Terziiski, with whose expertise and professionalism we managed to win the court case against the NIS.

I also express my gratitude to the Commission on Secret Files and personally to its chairman, Evtim Kostadinov and its secretary, Rumen Borisov. The commission played an extremely valuable role as a mediator when obtaining archive documents from the NIS. Although its normal activities were blocked for a long period of time by the government, the commission did everything it could to facilitate my research into the archive documents.

I have particular respect and admiration for investigator, Bogdan Karaiotov and his professionalism and moral stance on this case. He is the one person who discovered the most important evidence in the SSS archives and on which this book is based. In contrast to other magistrates, he did not yield to the pressure of circumstances and remained loyal to his position to the very end. Therefore, I consider that all of us who have during recent years wanted to learn the truth about Georgi Markov, should treat everything which Mr. Karaiotov has managed to do with the greatest of admiration.

I am also grateful to my friend and translator, David Mossop, for his translation of the book into English, as a result of which the book will stand a much better change of reaching a wider readership outside Bulgaria. I am also grateful to Desislava Valerieva for the expert assistance which she provided.

Last but not least I thank the directors of the newspaper, “Dnevnik” and its publishers and for always supporting me in my journalistic investigations. I would like to thank my colleagues for efforts in assisting in the formatting of the book and its publishing.

In conclusion I believe that it is especially important for Bulgarian society that the archives of the FMD be studied. Not only because this would put an end to the practice of society being deceived and misled deliberately and kept in a state of ignorance about its history. But because it would then have the opportunity to look at its recent past and see its real face. Moreover, the compromising evidence of this until recently secret archive will now serve as a counterpoint to the attempts of the state authority and the shadows of the SSS standing over it to forget and consign to oblivion the truth about the murder of Georgi Markov.

Hristo Hristov