The Kremlin says thinking one of the Salisbury suspects is a GRU colonel is like believing that Red Square's Stalin impersonators are the real thing
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that he's unaware of anyone named Anatoly Chepiga receiving the Hero of the Russian Federation medal, insisting that officials checked the Defense Ministry's records.
Peskov also mocked photographic evidence that Anatoly Chepiga is actually the cathedral-obsessed, possibly gay fitness instructor “Ruslan Boshirov,” which British officials say is the cover identity for one of the GRU agents who carried out a nerve-agent attack this March in the town of Salisbury that killed British citizen Dawn Sturgess and hospitalized former double agent Sergey Skripal and his daughter.
“All this speculation about who resembles whom... We've still got 10 Stalins and 15 Lenins running around Red Square. And they all look remarkably like the real thing,” Peskov said.
In a report published on September 26, open-source intelligence researchers at Bellingcat and investigative journalists at The Insider claimed that Chepiga was awarded the medal (probably by Vladimir Putin personally), citing an announcement still posted on the website of the Far Eastern Military Command Academy (DVOKU), where Chepiga studied. The state-run volunteer website Dosaaf28.ru makes the same claim, stating that Anatoly Chepiga (DVOKU class of 2001) received the award in December 2014 for his role in a “peacekeeping mission.”