Bulgarian umbrella

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Design of the weapon

The Bulgarian umbrella is the name of an umbrella with a hidden pneumatic mechanism which injected a small poisonous pellet containing ricin. The weapon has a hollowed stalk into which the pellet neatly sits.

Such an umbrella was allegedly used in the assassination of the Bulgarian dissident writer Georgi Markov on 7th September 1978 (the birthday of the Bulgarian State Council Chairman Todor Zhivkov who had often been the target of Georgi Markov's criticism) on Waterloo Bridge in London, (Markov died three days later) and also allegedly used in the failed assassination attempt against the Bulgarian dissident journalist Vladimir Kostov the same year in the Paris Métro. The poison used in both cases was ricin. Both assassination attempts are believed to have been organized by the Bulgarian Secret Service of the time of the Cold War with the assistance of the KGB.

Cultural influence[edit]

These two cases inspired the 1980 French film Le Coup du parapluie (The Umbrella Coup) directed by Gérard Oury, starring Pierre Richard and Bulgarian writer Stefan Kisyov to write his novel The Executioner.

The Bulgarian umbrella was featured in the 2013 episode of The Americans, "The Clock." A similar assassination (and attempt) were central to the plot of Quincy, M.E. episode #5 in the 5th season titled "Hot Ice" in 1978.

See also[edit]