Bloomberg Businessweek

Finding Your Name On Russia’s Hit List

The nerve-gas poisoning of a former KGB agent in the U.K. has Moscow’s foes spooked

It was just before 10 p.m. on Feb. 12, Boris Karpichkov’s 59th birthday, when the former KGB agent got an unexpected call at his home in the U.K. It was a Russian secret service friend phoning covertly from mainland Europe to warn him of a hit list with eight names on it. Karpichkov, who’d defected to Britain in 1998, was on the list. So was Sergei Skripal, another ex-Russian double agent.

Karpichkov initially dismissed the warning—he’d faced death threats before. Three weeks later, he changed his mind. On March 4, Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were rushed to a hospital after collapsing in a crowded shopping mall in the sleepy cathedral city of Salisbury in southwestern England. British officials determined the two—who remain in critical condition and may never recover—were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent in what the U.K. says is the first offensive use of a

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