🎧 Spy vs. Spy | On the Media | WNYC Studios

Listened to Spy vs. Spy by Bob Garfield from On the Media | WNYC Studios

A pattern of assassinations baffled Ukrainian authorities. Then an assassin came forward.

New York Times¬†reporter¬†Michael Schwirtz¬†set out to investigate a series of assassinations in Ukraine with low expectations. Reporting on a¬†homicide as a member of the foreign press is daunting enough to begin with. His¬†assignment¬†was¬†formidable beacuse many of the murders were linked to Russia¬†‚ÄĒ a government hostile to the media¬†at best and¬†notorious for murdering foreign journalists at worst.

But when Schwirtz approached alleged Russian assassin Oleg Smorodinov to question him about a murder, the accused provided an unexpected bit of testimony: a confession. And on top of that, Smorodinov disclosed the specific role the Kremlin played in ordering and directing his crime.

Schwirtz published his findings in a New York Times feature last week. Bob spoke with Schwirtz about spies, state-facilitated assassination and the experience of following a true story that reads like a Russian mystery novel.

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