Mishkin had an unusual profession for a travelling assassin: he was a doctor. The GRU had recruited him between 2007 and 2010 and given him his cover name. There was one last remarkable detail. Mishkin’s granny had a photo of her grandson receiving the award, residents said, and used to show it to them proudly while never letting it out of her grasp. The person congratulating Mishkin and shaking his hand was Vladimir Putin.

Luke Harding
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