Bellingcat’s Very Obviously Fake Chepiga Photo 580

Bellingcat’s attempts to gild the Chepiga lily are now becoming ludicrous. The photo they published today is a very obvious fake.

Many people have noticed that the photo of Chepiga on this wall appears to be hanging in completely different lighting conditions from the others. That is indeed a good point.

But there is a more important point here, and that is to do with sequencing. Except for Chepiga and Popov, who according to Belligncat also became a Hero of Russia in 2014, all of the people here are indeed openly and officially listed Heroes of Russia or, in the majority of cases, Heroes of the Soviet Union.

What is more, they are, as you would expect on a military honours wall, ranked in date order. ONLY CHEPIGA IS OUT OF DATE ORDER. The order runs top row let to right, then second row left to right, then bottom row left to right.
The bit of the bottom row we can see runs:
Karpushenko (2000), Ribak (2005), Maclov (2012), Popov (2014).

So why is Chepiga in a row of much earlier Heroes of the Soviet Union? Next in sequence in fact to Grigory Dobrunov who got his award in 1956!!!! The pictures are definitely otherwise all in date order.

The glaringly obvious answer – in line with the reflections anomaly – is that Chepiga’s “picture” has been photoshopped onto this wall. The military do not suddenly insert photos out of order and at random on an honours board. Bellingcat, however, have a track record of image manipulation.

None of which proves or disproves the Boshirov identification. It is however an important reminder to take Bellingcat as a source with a pinch of salt.

580 thoughts on “Bellingcat’s Very Obviously Fake Chepiga Photo

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  • Hatuey

    Everybody who comments on this website is on trial. We are in the dock, accused by future generations of the most heinous crimes imaginable; and anything we choose to say may be used in evidence against us.

    I want to direct this comment to those future generations rather than to the people here today who, frankly, I have more or less given up on.

    I want to tell future generations that not all of us are selfish, destructive crackpots who are obsessed with material gain, our own self-importance, and trivial nonsense like sport.

    Some of us do actually care deeply about the state of the world, and we strongly object to the needless suffering of people in places like the Middle East and Africa. The things we do to our fellow man today are as terrifying and dark as they are unforgivable.

    I can’t imagine how scathing you will be when you look at the damage we have done to this planet. Thousands of unique life forms wiped out on our watch, pollution, environmental contamination, and all the world’s precious resources depleted for the sake of a few trinkets.

    Above all else I want to apologise. We have absolutely screwed up. Most people, I believe, would change things dramatically if they could. We know what we are doing is unsustainable and most likely going to result in apocalyptic carnage some day. But nobody knows where to begin.

    The horror! The horror!


    Am I the only one who wonders what they will think of us in the future? I doubt it.

      • Roberto

        There have been several mass extinctions in the Earth’s history, according to scientific evidence, of up to 90% of all living creatures. The earliest extinction was some 450 million years ago, the most recent of five such events was 66 million years ago. Perhaps they were caused by an early form of humanity; perhaps some of humanity had such a low self-esteem that they blamed themselves personally and projected their guilt to the whole of humanity if it existed at that time. Perhaps comets rained down on the Earth and destroyed everything and if any early humans, now extinct, survived for a while, they blamed themselves, or possibly everyone else.
        For all this, I apologize.
        Now, back to Chepiga.
        Notice the height of his picture is shorter than the others in the same row. Naturally this causes the bottom edge of his picture to not line up with the adjacent ones. Finally, there seems to be a phantom bottom edge of whatever was cut from the original photo showing below Chepiga’s photo. Folks, when you’re doing this sort of thing, guidelines are your friend! Even the old USSR photo ‘enhancers’ who used to remove Stalin’s former pals from photos often did better work than this despite the technical limitations, though admittedly often their work was as ludicrous as this example apparently is.

        • Jo

          Apparently 7 previous civilisational states of the earth have been destroyed because of the dangers of their technology .

    • Paul Greenwood

      You are of course praying that the situation in “Idiocracy” does not occur…..

      “Private Joe Bauers, the definition of “average American”, is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes five centuries in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed down that he’s easily the most intelligent person alive.”

      Hoping that future generations turn out to be so much wiser and altruistic is a big mistake previous generations made…….

    • Olaf S

      I respect very much the tone of your message.

      (Personally, when it comes to material gain or being occupied with sports, I feel very innocent. When it comes to self-importance, I will see what I can do … ).

      Otherwise I believe the only hope for the world is some sort of “phase transition”: Say, suddenly, inexplicably, people of the earth begins in overwhelming masses do demand of their governments the complete scrapping of all nuclear & biological weapons etc.
      (I have long been ready to become a part of the wave).

      • Hatuey

        Olaf, you’re way too rational for this stuff. There’s no solution. We’re in a bus heading for a brick wall at high speed. There’s no brakes. No steering wheel. The only hope is that a few people will crawl out of the wreckage and start over, having learned a lesson or two.

        For all we know though, this planet is the only planet anywhere in the whole universe that hosts life. I like to think something will survive the crash. I think something will. Maybe.

    • joel

      You forgot to tell them you’re a fervent Donald Trump supporter .. climate change denier in chief, who regards the countries of Africa and Asia as sh*thole countries.

      • Hatuey

        Actually, I’ve never believed Trump was anything other than a retarded bampot. If I was an American, though, I’d have voted for him before Hillary who pledged to start WW3 in Syria.

        I had a chat with an American about this and he agreed Hillary did basically pledge to attack Russia but that she was just saying it in order to win people over… maybe you believe that too. Maybe I should apologise for taking her seriously.

        If the vote came around again, I’d still advocate voting Trump over Hillary.

        As for climate change, the truth is I don’t know if it’s man-made. I’m sceptical about the science of it because I remember back in the late 70s being told that we were headed for an ice age, not global warming.

        I also agree with philosophy of science experts who say it must be at least possible to falsify supposedly scientific theories and, yet, it seems no matter what the weather does today’s climatologists claim it proves their theories to be correct.

        I am an environmentalist though. I think the biggest environmental problems we face are habitat destruction and pollution. These theories are falsifiable too. We can measure and see the impact of man in these areas.

        Glad to clear these things up for you.

          • Hatuey

            Actually, jiusito, I specifically remember a teacher telling me. She was a good teacher too.

            As I’ve said below, I don’t think it’s the most pressing issue we face. And I don’t see how you could really address it without first addressing the underlying power structures that lie behind that problem and so many others.

        • Ash

          > As for climate change, the truth is I don’t know if it’s man-made. I’m sceptical about the science of it because I remember back in the late 70s being told that we were headed for an ice age, not global warming.

          There were a few papers published at the time that suggested global cooling, leading to splashy Newsweek and Time stories, but this was a minority sentiment among climate scientists even following 20+ years of cooling. This 2008 paper reviewed the primary literature of the time:

        • Andrew H

          Hatuey, you are most definitely not an environmentalist, and by claiming to be one you are giving ammunition to those that claim all environmentalists are nuts and therefore climate change is just a bunch of junk. If you don’t understand the science behind climate change, then that’s ok, but then don’t speak about it and at the same time claim support the environment (and possibly big oil).

          • Hatuey

            I only speak about it when asked or encouraged to. It isn’t the most pressing issue facing humanity, as see it, and I am not closed minded on the subject. As it stands, I don’t trust the cadres and the monolithic consensus, for reasons I’ve explained.

            Everyone I know that claims to be an expert on climate change and preaches on the subject lives in a huge fancy house with a carbon footprint the size of about 40 ordinary people. If they aren’t willing to practice what they preach, why should I?

            But even if it’s true, I doubt if you’ll find a solution. It’s just another reason to assume, as I already do, that we are heading for calamity. We are probably screwed either way.

            I’m sorry that I don’t have a more promising message than that, truly I am. If things are ever going to change, I think it would require more people to accept pessimistic forecasts, though, and act on the basis that if we don’t change we are screwed.

            If you look at history, you’ll find it’s the pessimists that drive progress. They’re the ones that say “this is shit, we need to change”. I don’t see where change is likely to come from today, but I’m sure those who looked at imperialism and slavery were pessimistic about their prospects too.

      • Roberto

        Funny, there was a British prime minister many years ago, forget who it was, said that the best solution for Africa was to wall it up, and take a peek through every hundred years or so to see if things have improved.

    • Blunderbuss


      Have I got this right? You are saying we should stop discussing fake photos and concentrate on reducing our carbon footprints. Why does it upset you so much that we talk about fake photos?

      • Hatuey

        No. I’m not saying that. My comment was addressed to future generations, not you.

        And I’m not morally responsible for you, do what you want.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      Look mate the world is what it is. Your outburst is that of an emotional child unable to come to terms with the fact that he cannot shape the world into his own image of perfection.

      I started out as a cancer researcher aged 21: idealistic huh? Wanting to alleviate suffering. Very noble. Over eleven years, I saw a lot of narrative shaping, cosy set ups, self-congratulatory political factions ganging up on each other, putsches and deep, deep political unpleasantness. Despite all that, advances have been made and patients slowly but surely get better. But a lot of collateral human damage along the way…..

      I left because it was made clear that translating research into valuable technologies was back then actively discriminated against by holier-than-thou leftie powermongers. Only the purity would do and all scientists must be selfless folks living in whatever poverty their betters deigned they should live in. It was not my view, particularly as some very senior bigwigs sat on pharma company boards and shovelled up a great deal of shit into their own pisspots.

      So I moved into an arena where scientists engaged in commercialisation and industry applications as Sainsbury reforms took hold. I saw more shenanigans, overt greed, corruption, surveillance inside the home and hard evidence of organised Professorial spy rings, despite all the mealy mouthed sanctimonious claptrap about academic integrity. For the elimination of doubt: Regius Professors are trained spies. But still certain technologies got to market and are valued by societies.

      I have been approached by trafficked prostitutes, newly arrived from Prague in bedraggled clothing. I was so naive as to the locations of local centres of street walking that I mistook such a place for a seller of fish suppers, colloquially known as fish n chips south of the border. I even bought a couple in subsequent weeks to watch how events took place. The owner noticed and could not tell if I was a repressed punter, an undercover journo/cop or just a wind up merchant. None if truth be told….just learning what is never taught in classrooms!

      I have had to intervene on behalf of a young woman being the centre of unwanted attentions of an extremely drunk young idiot on a train back from London, having to apologise to her for taking five to ten minutes to judge whether this moron was just that or a knife-wielding danger. She was sufficiently disturbed that she asked a man old enough to be her father to walk with her from the platform in Leeds to the bus stops outside to make sure she was not the subject of any more unwanted attention. I granted her request happily…..

      I have seen young US spies-in-training off their heads on coke. The powder, not the fizzy drink.

      I have observed extremely poor trackers ‘accompanying’ me walking the West Highland Way, so obviously poor at their job that their cover was blown two days into the six day tramp. New Zealand spies followed me up hills in Snowdonia at a time when I was tailed regularly to and from work in my company BMW.

      I have enjoyed listening services cutting off calls as I deliberately wound them up with provocative jovialities. Once happenstance, three times enemy action and all that. I have had nuisance callers calling me Arthur Scargill for reasons I cannot fathom. If Mr Scargill opposed slave labour, good for him. If he opposed making billions from heroin trafficking, good for him. Any other comparisns are singularly lacking. I cannot work a crowd, I have never been on strike, I have never joined the Labour Party etc etc. But the dirty tricks brigade are about auras of menace not factual accuracy.

      What I have learned is that refusal to become a spy is the ultimate career derailer in the UK. Spies are inside the tent, those that refuse are pissing from the outside in.

      I am afraid spying is a cause mostly of cooped up human misery. It is incompatible with a true desire to promote human health, which is why most doctors prefer sick people to treat.

      It is what it is: a manifestation of the UK Deep State, identical in conception to anything bad boy Russia might have and intermeshed with the same in goody-two-shoes America.

      Oh: and I spent 30 years in mountains observing weather, understanding its rhythms, seasonality, cyclicality.

      I saw 1970-1979 in NW London totally snow free. Fancy that, where was David Viner of CRU back then? I only saw snow twice up to the age of 15. I saw a lot in the 1980s and a lot in the 2010s. Much less in the 90s and Noughties.

      Amazing how the Press fails to report that. It might stop human guilt and that would never do….

  • SA

    So are many on this blog falling for the same trap as Gavin Williamson and believing that either Bellingcat needs endorsing or refuting? The truth as far as I can see is that Bellingcat is a disinformation channel at a deliberate distance from official channels. It is typical of disinformation to provide snippets of truth mingled with lots of lies. This has typically happened before notably with 911 where many go down trying to prove the unprovable by discrediting facts and misinformation.
    That Boshirov and Petrov visited Salisbury is not in doubt. What thier true identity is is still to be revealed and as stated are unlikely to be either ordinary tourists and equally unlikely to be assassins. Into this steps in Chepiga by stealth. To me it may well be that Chepiga is a true person but must not be exposed by the authorities but looking at his supposed picture on the wall makes it so clear that he is also very unlikely to be either the youthful face in the faked passport application or even less so, Boshirov of the passport photos or RT interview This sleight of hand has led to possible refutation of a truthful account which may now be used to discredit this website.
    I recommend Hatuey, Avery and Yah Wright amongst others for the sanity of thier writing amongst this mayhem of misinformation and distractions.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Bellingcat is yet another cutout used by the “Intelligence” Agencies – a pet blogger.

      Frankly, I have little interest in Skripals or Boshirov but note the constant ratcheting up of the theme music to try and force a reaction. It will come and I doubt the UK will enjoy the experience………the timing of the reaction is not in their hands.

      We are seeing Mahan v Mackinder – and what we are hearing is hysterical squawks from impotent bystanders. UK has had a free-run with Israel and France to stir up CHAOS in swathes of the Middle East and it is coming home to roost. Having blown the Defence Budget on flat-tops, FRES, and F-35s the country is all spent-up. Short of de-funding Pensions or NHS there is nothing but Defence Cuts ahead as BreXit trade losses mount – and with hardware budgets fixed – manpower costs must be cut. They cannot find submariners willing to be months away at sea and cannot crew flat-tops without denuding frigates.

      USA is not much better with its generation of ICBM builders approaching retirement and over invested in carrier groups and F-35 software factory. Western Europe cannot draft its youth without calling up Muslim units since that is where the demographics lead

      • MattR

        “the country is all spent-up. Short of de-funding Pensions or NHS there is nothing but Defence Cuts ahead”

        That is a political decision promoted by neo-liberals on the left and right and sadly effectively accepted by John McDonnell. The truth is we can fund state pensions, the NHS and defence, and anything else we choose to direct the country’s real resources (i.e. people) towards. Brexit may make that a challenge for the NHS in terms of personnel, though that’s a separate challenge. Put simply, we can create (‘print’) the money. Inflation, borrowing rates and the value of the Pound are not a threat, though we are brainwashed to believe they are. Japan has tripled its money supply in the last few years, but can’t get inflation off the floor despite its best efforts. At this point I should give the usual statement that Venezuala, Zimbabwe and the Weimar Republic are in no way comparable to our circumstances or Japan’s.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Japan has a captive savings market through the Post Office, UK does not.

          NHS lost EU nationals when it introduced an English-language test and Spanish nurses failed it. Germany is massively short of nurses and doctors – doctors emigrate to Norway and UK and nurses are cutback to balance the books because Germany has too many hospitals and need rationalisation.

          NHS has no real shortage….it could simply pay to bring NHS Nurses back from Agency Payroll and provide Nurses Homes so they could afford to live in an overheated property market. Thatcher sold off the Nurses’ Homes which were conveniently close to the hospitals !

          • SA

            “NHS has no real shortage…”

            Where did you get this information from. The NHS is chronically short of Nurses and Doctors and this will only get worse with Brexit.

          • Blunderbuss

            @Paul Greenwood

            “Japan has a captive savings market through the Post Office, UK does not”

            Britain used to have Girobank but the government sold it off.

        • Paul Greenwood

          the money. Inflation, borrowing rates and the value of the Pound are not a threat, = TOTAL MADNESS !!!!!!!!!

          UK External Debt = $8,475,956,000,000 as of 31 December 2017 or $127,000 per capita

          SO if you play your Venezuela/Argentina/Turkey Game you end up with total collapse when you cannot service your US dollar obligations with melting Pounds

  • Andrew Nichols

    Theyse of the blatant propagandist Bellingcat as some kind of wellmeaning and accurate source of citizen joyrnalism with its risible bits of bs by msm globally saysvolumes about who they really serve. If they really were servong us then Assange and Wikileaks wouldbe the go to source.

    • John

      Interesting take. The Met’s timeframe is based on the assumption they applied the poison to the door, which is presupposing their involvement. There is an obvious danger of making the facts fit the story rather than a story based on facts.

      Concerning the photo, I’m pretty good at Pshop, and I know people who are much better. I could have done a better job if it is a fake. However, it may not be fake, it may just be a poorly done addition using a reflective laminate rather than a matte. Either way it proves very little. Again the relevance is based on presupposition.

      Part of me thinks the grandstanding by the UK is to distract us from a failure Craig pointed out earlier, how on Earth to Kremlin stooges get so close to the UK’s chemical & biological weapons research labs?

      • Roberto

        The bottoms of the photos in the middle row don’t line up. Pretty sloppy. But read my above.

  • Radar O’Reilly

    In old news this morning, BBC r4’s 5:30 am ‘thatcher’ news-briefing program led as first news item , led our news-starved Brexit striven land with:-

    So, GCHQ, 77th Brigade & NSA accuse Russian spies of spying on the internet whilst ignoring all our preceding spying on them! Really, operation ‘Olympic games’ , the Greek Vodafone engineer, rather ‘plank in one’s eye’ stuff . . .

    There is only half a story here, let’s have the rest?

  • Olaf S

    I tend to agree with Zoltan on the previous page: Forget the confusing pictures for a while.
    Since Skripal’s view on Ukrainian matters has become known, the general picture of what happened in Salisbury may instead have become substantially clearer.
    The Western intelligence agencies are technically clever, as we know (as in counting tanks and rockets, to put it simple). Needless to say, people like Skripal are valuable because they are able to explain the thinking on the other side, the mentality, the power struggles etc.
    It is reasonable to assume that he has maintained his importance by using different sources to keep himself updated on the situation in Russia, a clever man. I am sure that his reports must have been read with great interest at quite high levels in the intelligence community (or he may have been invited to chats, who knows).
    Post Maidan, after the nationalists became dominant on the political scene in the Ukraine, there has been established close co-operation between the Ukrainian and Western secret services. The Ukrainians would sooner or later get a whiff of this Russian fellow, who seemed to be against all what they stand for, and who even has argued in favour of the Russian view on the Crimean take-over! (stabbing their holiest cow, so to speak), and who may have had the ear of rather high instances in British and even American services. An enemy of the highest order! They had the strongest thinkable motive to stop him, and they have some of the most fanatical and action-happy people one can imagine at disposal. (It is not my business to say that the Pravyj Sector consists of neo-nazis, but some of their actions point in that direction, like importing hard-core Western neo-nazis to fight the separatists, say. It is well documented – even by the BBC).

    There are 3 million Ukrainians living in Russia, some small fraction of these will undoubtedly be in service of (any of the power fractions of) the Ukraine. In a matter like this, money will be available in any amount. To find two guys i Russia who are willing to just travel to Salisbury England at a determined time, do nothing in particular, and then return to Russia would be easy enough. Just put enough money on the table. (”Have a good party while you are there, guys, now you can afford yourself some really nice “escort” girls”).
    If our two Russian guys moved around the English town as if the visit had no purpose, and in a totally relaxed way, it simply was because there was no purpose. To them, that is.
    To the Ukrainians involved, apart from warning Skripal (potentially hurting the old man fatally), being able to direct the blame for the attack towards Russia must have been an essential part of it.
    We have to deal with the most unscrupulous kind of people in some of these fanatics, and no Yulia Skripal would stand in their way, neither would the poor random person who happened to find the perfume bottle, which obviously was intended to be found sooner or later, to boost the Novichok scare.

    They would have had no problem obtaining Novichok to put in the perfume bottle, say, from old Soviet stock (or from Western sources, for that matter).

    (Some poster here informed us that this “brand” of fake perfume, in the same type of dispenser bottle, could be bought in shops in Charkov. It fits well in).

    Worth noting: If they were caught they would easily go for Russians! Probably 30-40% of the population has Russian as mother tounge (all disputed regions included also) and the rest speaks it as well, I think.

    How (or if) a hint was given to the British Government that “here you have a nice case to exploit”, I do not know. It seems in any case to have turned out “gefundenes Fressen” to Theresa & Boris, at some point.

    Neither can I say to which degree the British SS – or parts of it – was warned of the action, or is/was involved.

    This I believe is the simple truth (with 95% confidence): The Skripals were sprayed on the bench by Ukrainian nationalists. (On a non-official mission? Or sanctioned by the state? Or something in-between? Harder to tell).

    P.S. I
    Sorry for my clumsy use of English (my Danish is still worse, in a way, since it invites me to more peculiar-personal formulations).

    P.S. II
    Thank you Craig for making downloadable the most engaging and fascinating book I have read in a long time ( The Catholic Orangemen of Togo…)

  • Dmitry Kravchenko

    Why do you think that “the military do not suddenly insert photos out of order”? 🙂

    • Yeah, Right

      “Why do you think that “the military do not suddenly insert photos out of order”? ”

      Go to Bellingcat’s article. Note the “before” photo dated 2014.

      Notice how the last three acknowledged HoRF recipients were added to the bottom line, even though that ruined the aesthetic symmetry of that wall display.

      QED: The chronology of that photo wall is regarded as more important that the aesthetic placement of photos to create a pleasing symmetry.

      Now look at the 2016 photo. The photo of “Chepiga” has been added in the most conspicuous and easy-to-see “free spot”, even though that isn’t the chronologically-correct place to put it. Which might be arguable EXCEPT that there is room to put the “Chepiga” photo where it belongs i.e. either to the right of Popov (there is room) or (more likely) as the very first photo in a new row.

      Why not put it on a new row? After all, it’s not as if the Far Eastern All-Army Academy can’t expect new HoRF recipients in the future.

      There is no aesthetic reason to put that picture in the middle-right, since the aesthetic symmetry of the board had already been ruined when Ribak, Maclov and Popov were added post-2011 and pre-2014. Clearly, symmetry takes a second-place to chronology.

      Does that make sense? Basically, something that clearly mattered in 2014 no longer mattered in 2016, yet there is no good reason for that change when there is still room lower down on the board.

      Except, of course, lower-down means it won’t be spotted by Eliot Higgins.

      • Neil McFarlane

        Maybe someone who put photos up earlier cared about chronology, but another person later didn’t. Maybe someone told a janitor to stick a photo on the wall and he just put it wherever. Maybe it’s photoshopped.

        I don’t know, but I do know that anyone who says they know for sure is kidding themselves.

        • Jay

          Could be a few in a group tour stayed back, quickly put the photo on the wall, took a snapshot and Bob is your uncle. If it was photoshopped on the wall, I think they would have had the yellow/cream background for the name in the same size as the others.

          • Yeah, Right

            Jay, sorry, not possible. There is another photo of the entire crowd standing in front of that wall and you can still see the photo. So either it is “real” or it has been photoshopped in. But your theory can’t be correct.

        • Yeah, Right

          Neil, there are some things we do know.
          We know for a fact that in 2011 all the photos were not only placed in chronological order but also arranged so that the display had an aesthetically-pleasing symmetry.

          (Fast-forward to 4:12)

          We know for a fact that by 2014 the photos of Maclov (2012), Popov (2014) were added, and they were placed in their chronologically-correct place even though that ruined the aesthetic symmetry of the display
          (Bellingcat’s “before” photo, dated July 2014).

          So we KNOW that the janitor didn’t “just put those two photos wherever”, because…. he clearly didn’t.

          So fast-forward to 2016 and if we want to assume that Bellingcat isn’t telling Pork Pies then we have to assume that all our preceding knowledge – facts – have to now go out the window. The Janitor NOW doesn’t give a s**t about where the photo goes, the Janitor NOW doesn’t give a rats-arse about the obvious chronology of that display, the Janitor NOW decides that it is a good idea to plonk that new photo in amongst all the the Soviet-era photos even though there is still room next to Popov’s photo (go on, have a look, there is clearly room for one more photo on that bottom row).


          Being the recipient of a Hero of the Russian Federation is a big deal. A very big deal. Any photo of Chepiga would be alongside Popov’s photo, and it would have been put up in 2014 when BOTH those gentlemen were awarded it.

          Honestly, why is that in any doubt?

  • Robyn

    I just watched Viktoria Skripal’s interview:

    The main take-out for me was that Sergei’s mother has not heard from him, nor from Yulia. Imagine the distress of a 91-year old woman who cannot even be sure that her son and grand-daughter are still alive. Viktoria is trying to arrange a visa to visit the UK in the hope of seeing Sergei and Yulia. Good luck with that one, Viktoria.

  • George

    Time to accept that the photo is correct and colonel Chepiga was in Salisbury. And time to move on from that argument. It still doesn’t mean that he smeared poison on the door, in fact the idea of revenge on the old man, using a Russia-made poison, is just stupid. We still need to find out what happened, who sent them, and we want more CCTV footage. We have to wait but might not ever find out.

    • Paul Greenwood

      If you accept Chegipa was in Salisbury travelling on a false passport so easily discovered by Bellingcat you are stating categorically that MI6 and the Border Security Agents at Gatwick who answer to MI5 are clueless about persons entering from Russia even if they have applied for a visa. It is time to examine whether BreXit really will give us any control over our borders, or maybe Eliot Higgins should be put in charge of the Border Agency ?


        No. You make a huge assumption.

        Who says that the uk was not aware who they are?

        The government claim they weren’t.

        But the way they wandered in and carried on suggests they knew they would not be disturbed.

      • Phill

        “If you accept Chegipa was in Salisbury travelling on a false passport so easily discovered by Bellingcat you are stating categorically that MI6 and the Border Security Agents at Gatwick who answer to MI5 are clueless about persons entering from Russia even if they have applied for a visa”

        Sounds plausible. Have you seen who is in charge of the country? Always go for cock-up over cover up.

  • Tony

    The photo of the person directly beneath Chepiga does not look right. His left shoulder is below the right shoulder.

    • Andyoldlabour

      you could apply that “logic” to three or four of the other photos, it is the angle which they are standing at.


    Oh god are we going down this road again Craig.

    If you look at other photos, that room has windows on the opposite wall. It is totally feasible light will shine through and only be visible on some of the photos at certain angles. It’s simply zero proof.

    As for the dates, just maybe an office bod put it up and wanted to make it neat by keeping the rows equal lengths.

    You know, human stuff.

    But you guys carry on, get those tin foil hats on.

  • Lizzie

    On the other hand, a comment under the Bellingcat article links to what it says is the official Russian Min of Defence and says:-

    Just in case someone might think that the photo itself is fake because the template for name is bigger or because he doesn’t wear uniform, here is the photo of this heroes wall (last one) from 2016 on the official russian Ministry of Defense website.

    Any thoughts?

      • info

        The close up probably is.

        But even the close up does not look like Boshirov as seen in the RT interview nor does look Petrov as seen in the RT interview look like Petrov on CCTV.
        And Boshirov of RT does not look like Boshirov on CCTV.

        And the passport documents Bellingcat got were almost certainly fake.

        Bellingcat is doing information warfare for the internet.

  • Yonatan

    Borislov and Petrov are the old reality. The UK deep state is currently working on the new reality. This will involve up to 4 ‘cleaners’, details probably released one at a time, to extend the coverage and further cement confusion amongst the general public over exactly what happened but to further reinforce ‘we know the Russians done it’. There is no intent for a legal trial just trial by media.

    The deep state is having a good laugh at all this.

    • Yeah, Right

      Sorry, shocker, but that article only adequately deals with the issue of the reflections, which is only a minor point in Craig’s article.

      As for this claim of yours: “Look at the image. What practical options did whoever put that photo up have?”
      Well, heck, where to start?

      Oh, yeah, let’s start with the fact – and it is a fact – that there is still room to Popov’s right for one more photo.
      And let’s follow that on with another option, which is to move Popov’s picture down to start a FORTH row, and then put Chepiga’s photo next to it so that the two 2014 recipients are next to each other, and all subsequent recipients can then be added on from there.

      But, heck, why stop there? Another option is to move all the photos on the middle row one-place-to-the-left, which will produce two spaces to move the last two recipients of the old Hero of the Soviet Union up into the now-vacant space at the end of the middle row. Which – obvious when you think about it – will allow them to move all the photos on the bottom row two-to-the-left, freeing up space for Chepiga’s photo AND restoring the aesthetic symmetry that was lost when Maclov (2012) and Popov (2014) were added.

      All are much, much better “options” than your suggestion, because all three of them preserve the chronology, while the last two give a double-whammy – they preserve the chronology AND they restore the symmetry.

      Unlike your “option”, which simply makes a mockery of that display.

  • Tom Welsh

    “Bellingcat, however, have a track record of image manipulation”.

    It’s their core incompetence, actually.

  • Blunderbuss

    Some people believe that Sergei had not retired and was continuing to work for MI6. But what if Sergei had changed sides again and returned to working for Russia? MI6 would then have a motive for doing away with him.

  • Keith

    I have to say that I’m struggling to see that this is an “obvious” case of photoshopping, unless all the other photos of this wall that I’ve seen so far from several sources have also been photoshopped (not impossible but perhaps unlikely). As an exercise in discrediting Bellingcat it seems a weak one, not to say that Bellingcat is a credible source but this may not be the right picture to hang your stick on.

  • mike

    The state broadcaster is ramping up the anti-Russia hysteria again. Interesting that one of the evidence-free allegations is that Russia (the whole country, aye?) hacked the OPCW. Have they interfered with the Douma test results? It wouldn’t surprise me if that was the next step in this McCarthyite psychosis.

    It might explain why the OPCW found no evidence of nerve agents during their visit. The state broadcaster told us a very different story:

    I wonder who funded the Ghouta Media Center? Note the spelling.

      • SA

        No but something possibly big will be happening in Syria soon. The Russians have effectively closed Syrian air space to the aggressors and Israel is threatening to use F35s to destroy the S-300 batteries, watch for the escalation after the first Israeli jet is shot down.

        • Steph

          Scary. But the Russians still saying that they have reports of ‘preparations’ being made for staged cw attacks. West needs to ramp up anti russia sentiment to co-ordinate with that I suppose.

    • Agent Green

      Apparently it’s fine for the US to spy on the UN, everyone in the World and the leaders of most nations (see the Snowden documents), but any spying by Russia is completely not allowed.

      This is ludicrous. Even if these people in Holland are Russian, it would just be a ‘standard’ intelligence operation. The kind that the US, UK and any other advanced nation carries out the whole time.

      Or is the West really saying that it has no teams of agents in foreign nations and has never attempted to spy on any World body or any similar organisation?

    • Jo Dominich

      I agree Mike. The thing is I don’t think even the British Public believe a word of any of these government posturings. Strange that it’s now resurfaced when, once again, the Government are making a total mess of Brexit.

  • Republicofscotland

    There appears to be a reflection of a window in the dubious photograph, yet in the photos directly above and below it, no such reflection exists, even though they are inline with the suspect photograph.

  • Greg Park

    Higgins failed to get official endorsement for his fraud. But instead of leaving it he has chosen to double down. Time to draw a veil over his crude antics.

    • SA

      Higgins g=has fulfilled his purpose, it does not matter if he got an endorsement. The escallation now is happening, having produced the atmosphere and diversion created by Higgins and getting us all distracted trying to analyse reflections on laminated photos which mean nothing.

  • SA

    Well rehearsed concerted efforts to target Russia by UK and the Dutch. This follows the Russians bid to close Syrian airspace to the invaders and aggressors.

    • Agent Green

      Apparently it’s fine for the US to spy on the UN, everyone in the World and the leaders of most nations (see the Snowden documents), but any spying by Russia is completely not allowed.

      This is ludicrous. Even if these people in Holland are Russian, it would just be a ‘standard’ intelligence operation. The kind that the US, UK and any other advanced nation carries out the whole time.

      Or is the West really saying that it has no teams of agents in foreign nations and has never attempted to spy on any World body or any similar organisation?

  • carl

    I think you are wrong, Craig, about the image of Chepiga on the wall being a fake, inserted there using photoshop.

    What you could do is check on the face recognition sites whether this picture is any better a match to Boshirov’s than the earlier snap of Chepiga you did the comparison on. After all Bellingcat are implying this is further proof they are the same person.

  • mike

    Agreed on Syria. Russia’s move was the S300s; the counter-move is today’s revelations. The game of chess continues.

    I also note that Russia are alleging that Gilead Sciences were conducting bioweapons research in Georgia. It is on RT.

  • mike

    Now the state broadcaster has some self employed neck-beard on the radio news to tell us that “public infrastructure might be sabotaged” by V V Blofeld.

    The hysteria is getting hysterical !

    • Agent Green

      Snowden already demonstrated that the US has the capability of hacking from anywhere and making it look like the work of another nation.

      You can’t believe anything the US/UK intelligence services say.

  • Abcde

    The reflection is odd because it is caught only on that portrait from two angles, but short of Ru. changing all online copies or bel. doing same, I think you have to go with it being original. You might be following a correct intuition Craig, or you might have it tainted by knowing bel. is often fake.

    That translates into :

    IF the photo is real and
    IF Chepiga is Boshirov and
    IF MI6 did not know this originally and stage Skripal to cross their presence in Salis. and
    IF there is eventually CCTV released or other evidence to obviously “prove” Bosh. participation and
    IF this is not a fake sideshow in which Ru. is complicit with UK and

    Then MAYBE ru. is directly responsible.


    So I don’t think any answer is ever going to be fully believable, credibility nowadays seems just measured by how many can be deceived, and for whatever use that deception serves.

    • Yeah, Right

      “but short of Ru. changing all online copies or bel”

      Just out of curiousity, how many online copies do you think there are?
      I’ve counted three. There are more, are there?

  • Andrew Roberts

    Are the western intelligence agencies having a collective #MeToo moment today? Did the evil Russians look up all their skirts? Strange the well resourced RF is using the same bunch of people for all operations all over the world, with the same laptop! Clearly the script writers are on minimum wage these days…

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    See that May has got allies like the Dutch and the US to go bonkers in their set-ups of Moscow, and I know well why.

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