sergei skripal

And the poisoned perfume

A forensic tent covering the bench in the center of Salisbury where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found on March 4, 2018.

A forensic tent covering the bench in the center of Salisbury where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found on March 4, 2018.


recommended reading

As an account of the case, Mark Urban’s 2018 book offers unique access to Skripal prior to the incident in Salisbury as well as a thorough examination of the investigation: The Skripal Files: The Life and Near Death of a Russian Spy


A rare - and not confirmed - photo of Pablo Miller, Skripal’s MI6 case officer. Miller also worked in private security with Christopher Steele.

A rare - and not confirmed - photo of Pablo Miller, Skripal’s MI6 case officer. Miller also worked in private security with Christopher Steele.

Pablo Miller worked with Orbis Business Intelligence, the company established by Christopher Steele. It produced the “Trump-Russia Dossier”.

Pablo Miller worked with Orbis Business Intelligence, the company established by Christopher Steele. It produced the “Trump-Russia Dossier”.


An image released in 2018 by British police, appearing to show two Russian men, identified as Ruslan Boshirov (left) and Alexander Petrov.

An image released in 2018 by British police, appearing to show two Russian men, identified as Ruslan Boshirov (left) and Alexander Petrov.

The two people identified, Ruslan Boshirov (left) and Alexander Petrov, speaking on Russian television in 2018 to deny any involvement in the poisoning of the Skripals.

The two people identified, Ruslan Boshirov (left) and Alexander Petrov, speaking on Russian television in 2018 to deny any involvement in the poisoning of the Skripals.

 
Left: A passport photo from 2003 showing a person that the Bellingcat investigative website has identified as Anatoliy Chepiga. Bellingcat unearthed evidence that Chepiga was a Russian intelligence officer.  Center: A passport photo from 2009, seeming to show the person identified as Ruslan Boshirov.  Right: Photo of Ruslan Boshirov released by British police in 2018.

Left: A passport photo from 2003 showing a person that the Bellingcat investigative website has identified as Anatoliy Chepiga. Bellingcat unearthed evidence that Chepiga was a Russian intelligence officer.

Center: A passport photo from 2009, seeming to show the person identified as Ruslan Boshirov.

Right: Photo of Ruslan Boshirov released by British police in 2018.

 
Left: Bellingcat found a 2001 passport photo seeming to show Alexander Mishkin. Bellingcat claims that Mishkin was a Russian armed forces medic.  Right: A passport photo from 2006 seeming to show Alexander Petrov, also uncovered by Bellingcat.

Left: Bellingcat found a 2001 passport photo seeming to show Alexander Mishkin. Bellingcat claims that Mishkin was a Russian armed forces medic.

Right: A passport photo from 2006 seeming to show Alexander Petrov, also uncovered by Bellingcat.

An image of a person called Alexander Petrov, taken from a 2016 passport, and released by British police in the aftermath of the Salisbury poisonings.

An image of a person called Alexander Petrov, taken from a 2016 passport, and released by British police in the aftermath of the Salisbury poisonings.


List of people associated with the Institute for Statecraft, including Pablo Miller. Document released by the Anonymous group. The list is head “CND”, the initials of Christopher Donnelly, director of the organization.

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There are 22 names on the list. A brief biography for each was prepared by a website called the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media

  • Current military / Ministry of Defense

    • Colonel Angus Taverner: former director of news media operations at the Ministry of Defense

    • Lt Col Annabelle Janes: Commanding Officer, Land Intelligence Fusion Centre

    • Lt Col Debi Lomax: Chief of General Staff’s Commander’s Initiative Group

    • Captain Joe Walker-Cousins: reservist in Specialist Group Military Intelligence and employed as a private security contractor in Saudi Arabia

    • Howard Body: Principal Analyst and Assistant Head of Science Support, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Porton Down

    • Ian Cohen: a senior analyst at HSBC bank, who also seems to have an official army email address

  • The Foreign Office – Adam Rutland: Communications and Engagement Department

  • US Embassy – Zachary Harkenrider: Counselor for Political Affairs

  • Hudson Institute – Craig Kennedy: Senior Fellow and past president of the German Marshall Fund

  • Journalists

    • Helen Boaden: former Director of BBC News

    • Isabel Oakeshott: former political editor of the Sunday Times

  • Chatham House (influential defense think tank)

    • Duncan Allen: former Foreign Office Eastern Research Group

    • Mathieu Boulegue: Research Fellow, expertise on Russia

  • Risk/security/intelligence consultants

    • Paul Harkness: former brigadier at Army Headquarters, now sole director of Hawk Consultancy

    • Pablo Miller: MI6 officer cum security consultant

    • Neil Barnett: former journalist, now runs a risk consultancy named Istok Associates

    • Paddy Nichol: retired British army officer and former director of the private security company Rubicon International

  • Institute for Statecraft trustees

    • Harry Hart: property investor

    • Phillip Matthews: former director of Astutus Intelligence, current director of PM Homeland Security

  • Academic – Professor James Gow, King’s College London Department of War Studies

  • Unidentified affiliations

    • William Bortrick

    • Alexander Patterson 


One of the documents released by Anonymous was this discussion between Christopher Donnelly, the director of the Institute for Statecraft, and General Richard Barrons. The discussion focuses on Russia and the need to shape the political debate in order to shift attitudes.


Another of the documents from the Institute for Statecraft, released by Anonymous in November and December 2018, is a list of desired outcomes following the Salisbury poisonings. These include the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Britain (which happened) and a boycott of the Russia 2018 World Cup (which didn't).


Soon after the Skripals fell ill, the Institute for Statecraft commissioned a report by Harod Associates into the Russian response to the incident.

Harod Associates had previously produced a report on doping allegations in Russian sport prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Attribution for music used in this episode:

Assassinations Podcast Theme Music (Intro, Outro, and Transitions) written and performed by Graeme Ronald

"Thinking Ahead" by Purple Planet is licensed under CC BY 4.0 / A derivative from the original work

"Piano at Night" by Purple Planet is licensed under CC BY 4.0 / A derivative from the original work

"On the Wing" by Purple Planet is licensed under CC BY 3.0 / A derivative from the original work