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  • The date is August 14th, 1961. The location:  a dingy basement in the American Central  

  • Intelligence Agency's West Berlin headquartersJust a few miles distant lies the Soviet KGB's  

  • own headquarters, both sides separated by  a political demarcation splitting Germany  

  • into East- under influence of the Soviet Unionand the democratic West- under the protection  

  • of the United States and its allies. For years,  a secret spy war has waged between both sides,  

  • the life of each operative always just  a single trigger-pull away from ending.

  • And now, sitting at a table lit only by two 40  watt lights hanging from the ceiling, is one of  

  • those trigger pullers- the Soviet assassin Bohdan  Stahynsky, and he wants to flip to the Americans.

  • Or, at least that's what the man claims to be  and want. He appears to be in his late thirties  

  • or early forties, a tall handsome man with dark  hair, a clean shaven face, and an easy going  

  • manner. Nothing about him screams assassinand yet the man insists that he is the one  

  • responsible for at least two major political  assassinations on the Soviet side of Europe.

  • The American agents interrogating  him are skeptical. The West German  

  • intelligence officer assisting his  American partners is less skeptical.

  • Go on”, the German officer  nods, “Tell us how it happened.”

  • Stashynksy takes a sip of  water and clears his throat...

  • It's now October 1957 and the weather  is pleasantly cool. Stashinsky sits  

  • on a park bench in the middle of Munichnewspaper on his lap. To all appearances,  

  • he's nothing more than another German citizen  enjoying the mild weather. In reality,  

  • he is a dangerous predatory animal, carefully  eyeballing every man who crosses his path.  

  • He's looking for his prey, and  he knows he'll find him soon.

  • Originally, Stashinsky was  instructed to abduct Lev Rebet,  

  • the editor of a Ukranian nationalistic  newspaper that called for independence  

  • for Ukraine from the Soviet Union. Needless to say  this didn't sit well with the Soviet government,  

  • and with the paper's growing influence  something had to be done to stop the agitators.

  • Six months after his original  tasking to abduct Rebet,  

  • the KGB changed its mind and encouraged  the assassination of Rebet instead.  

  • Soviet premier Nikita Kruschev  personally approved of the killing,  

  • and soon Stashinsky found himself with different  orders- kill Lev Rebet and leave no witnesses.

  • Stashinsky watches the crowd carefully as it  moves. He's been here in the city center for two  

  • days, knowing that eventually Rebet will appearHe doesn't have long to wait, and early on the  

  • second day, Stashinsky spots Rebet from a distance  as he steps off a tram, and immediately picks up  

  • his newspaper and begins to follow him. Rebet has only minutes left to live now

  • Hidden in the rolled up newspaper is  a very simple device- a single-shot,  

  • single-barreled pipe gun of sorts, loaded with  a nearly foolproof tool for assassination:  

  • a capsule of potassium cyanide. The weapon fires  the capsule directly into the face of its victim,  

  • which bursts on impact releasing a small cloud of  the deadly poison. Within seconds the victim will  

  • be unconscious. Moments later, dead, and best of  all- any medical examination that doesn't look  

  • too closely will determine the cause of death  to be nothing more than a simple heart attack

  • Now, Stashinsky follows Rebet, the  deadly weapon hidden in his newspaper.  

  • On an ankle holster, Stashinsky  carries a small revolver,  

  • just in case there are any witnesses. Nobody can  be left alive to tell the tale of Rebet's death,  

  • and certainly not to link it back to the people  who most want him dead: the Soviet Union.

  • Rebet leads Stashinsky through the streets of  Berlin, finally arriving at his apartment block.  

  • He opens the front door and lets himself  in, Stashinsky slipping in behind him  

  • just before the door closes. Rebet begins  to climb the stairs to the second floor,  

  • completely unaware of the deadly  assassin stalking his every step.

  • Stashinsky clears his throat. The surprised  Rebet immediately spins around to face him,  

  • only to stare into the barrel of the deadly  poison gun. With a silent hiss, the weapon fires,  

  • a potassium cyanide capsule bursting directly  in Rebet's face. Rebet staggers forward,  

  • but falls to the floor. The assassination  has been perfect. No witnesses, and the  

  • medical examiners will discover only a small  amount of potassium cyanide in Rebet's system,  

  • not enough to trigger suspicions that  his death was anything but natural.

  • Back in 1961, the CIA officers look skeptical.  A poison gun that shoots potassium cyanide  

  • capsules? That sounds ridiculous to thempure fantasy. They're growing less and less  

  • convinced by the minute that this man is truly  who he says he is, let alone a Soviet assassin.

  • The German officer however isn't so sureAn autopsy of Rebet did discover potassium  

  • cyanide in his system. And the same  was discovered in another prominent  

  • political enemy of the Soviet Union just  two years later. Could the two be connected?

  • Tell me more, Herr Stashinsky.”

  • It's once more October, but this time it's 1959,  

  • two years after the assassination of Lev RebetToday, the target is another Ukranian antagonist,  

  • a political leader now living in exile from his  former home, and still calling for independence  

  • from the Soviet Union, Stepan Bandera. This has  naturally placed him in the crosshairs of the KGB.

  • Bandera lives in Munich, on an apartment  block at Kreittmayer Street not far from his  

  • office. Stashinsky has been watching Bandera  closely for months, the man is not easy to  

  • track or to approach. Bandera is all too  aware that there is a target on his back,  

  • and has been careful to mix up his routines  and maintain tight security at all times.  

  • This has made pinning down his commute and  best places to ambush him, very difficult.

  • Stashinsky has already tried to penetrate  Bandera's home on a previous occasion,  

  • but the lockpicking tools provided to him by  the KGB failed to open the lock to the front  

  • door of the apartment building. He tried his own  key to see if perhaps they were similar enough,  

  • but that too failed and actually broke off in  the lock. Panicked, Stashinsky called off the  

  • assassination attempt, fearful that the  sabotaged lock might give the plot away.

  • Lucky for him, the building inspector  fixed the lock and suspected no foul play.  

  • Bandera remained unaware of just how close he had  come to death. Stashinsky was determined to kill  

  • him on this first trip though, and as he followed  closely from behind through the streets of Munich,  

  • Bandera happened to glance  behind him and spot Stashinsky,  

  • making the assassin fear he'd  been made. The hit was called off.

  • But now, weeks later, Stashinsky is  determined to at last get his victim.  

  • He has filed down one of his own keys to match  the lock to Bandera's apartment building door,  

  • and he undertakes a quick  trial run to ensure it works.  

  • Sure enough, the key fits and the  door opens. The assassination is a go.

  • The next day, Stashinsky takes a yellow pill meant  to protect him from the potassium cyanide he'll  

  • be using to kill Bandera with. His weapon is an  improved version of the one he used two years ago,  

  • featuring two barrels which will allow  him to ensure a deadly dose is delivered.

  • The assassin makes his way to the Ludwig  Bridge near the German Museum in Munich,  

  • and from there finds a place to  observe the Ukranian emigre office.  

  • He spots Bandera's car, and an  hour later at about 1130 hours,  

  • Stashinsky watches a man and a woman exit the  office and enter Bandera's vehicle, driving down  

  • the street. He's not close enough to identify  the man, but is convinced that it's Bandera.

  • Stashinsky decides to simply wait for Bandera at  his home, and takes a streetcar to the apartment  

  • building Bandera lives in under a fake name. He  finds a place to sit and observe the street, and  

  • not long after spots Bandera's car drive past himBandera, who is typically escorted by a bodyguard  

  • everywhere he goes, is completely alone. Now is the time to strike.

  • Stashinsky watches Bandera drive into the  apartment building's garage, and quickly  

  • makes his way inside the building using his  filed-down key. He heads up the stairs and  

  • takes a perch in between the ground and second  floor. It's still early in the afternoon and  

  • the building is quiet, there is no foot traffic  coming or going- perfect for an assassination.

  • Suddenly there's the sound of a door opening  somewhere above Stashinsky, and two women bidding  

  • goodbye to each other. Stashinsky tries to calm  his nerves, and wills the woman to quickly move  

  • to the elevator and take her leave. She  doesn't. She decides to take the stairs.

  • Stashinsky grips the weapon hidden in his  newspaper roll. It has two barrels, two charges.  

  • He could kill two people with it if need be.

  • The woman draws nearer, and at the last secondStashinsky decides against killing her. He moves  

  • down the stairs and begins to fiddle with the  elevator button, pretending to be waiting for it.  

  • The woman passes by him and exits the buildingThe moment the door closes behind her,  

  • Stashinsky curses silently and  rushes back towards the stairs.

  • But before he can take more than two steps towards  the stairs, the front door once more opens.  

  • It's Bandera, and he's spotted StashinskyFor one brief moment, the assassin fears  

  • that the game is up. Maybe Bandera will  run. Maybe he will reach for his weapon.  

  • Stashinsky is only armed with the poison  gun, useless except at point blank range.  

  • Bandera would surely kill him  before he could get that close,  

  • it's well known that the Ukranian leader in exile  always carries a firearm in a shoulder holster.

  • The question racing through Stashinsky's  mind is- does he recognize me?  

  • Did he spot me weeks ago as I was  following him and he happened to  

  • glance over his shoulder directly  at me? Will he remember my face?

  • Bandera does not. He nods briefly  at Stashinsky before turning his  

  • attention back to extricating his key  from the front door. His arms are loaded  

  • with groceries and he is having trouble  removing the key from the sticky lock,  

  • his back turned to the deadly Soviet  assassin standing only a dozen feet away.

  • Stashinsky makes his move, it's now or never.

  • Walking to the door, Stashinsky grabs the front  door knob as if to help Bandera. “Doesn't it  

  • work?”, asks Stashinsky, causing Bandera to look  directly at him. “Yes, it works.” comes the reply.

  • As Bandera turns to look and answers Stashinsky's  question, he's met by both barrels of the  

  • poison gun. Two capsules of potassium cyanide  burst at point blank range in Bandera's face,  

  • and the Ukranian leader staggers backwardsGroceries fall to the floor as Bandera struggles  

  • to free his pistol from its holster hidden  under his jacket. It's too late for him though.

  • Stashinsky doesn't even wait to confirm Bandera's  death. He walks out the door and closes it behind  

  • him as Bandera falls to the floor. The massive  dose of poison takes only seconds to kill him,  

  • the police will find him with his hand still  clutching at the weapon in its holster.

  • Back in 1961 once more, the Americans still aren't  buying it. “A poison gas gun? Whoever heard of  

  • such a thing. What a load of hooey.” The CIA  agents do not believe Stashinsky or his stories,  

  • and make a recommendation to headquarters  that he is useless as a double agent  

  • and is possibly a Soviet mole  himself. His stories don't add up,  

  • and the CIA releases him to the  West German intelligence service.

  • The Germans however aren't as skeptical of  Stashinsky's stories. They have Stashinsky  

  • walk them through a recreation of the murders  and become increasingly convinced that he's  

  • the real deal given his incredible  familiarity with the murder scenes.  

  • Maybe he can be a valuable intelligence assetbut first, he has to answer for his crimes.

  • As a valuable asset, Stashinsky is jailed for  only eight years. Shortly after his release,  

  • the CIA changes its mind on Stashinsky and brings  him into the fold. They eventually provide new  

  • identities for him and his German wife and fly  them to South Africa, where he is granted asylum.

  • But not before he delivers a goldmine of  intelligence to the West on Soviet operations

  • Now that you've made it to the end, comrade, check  out what happens if you displease the great Soviet  

  • premier with The Horrible LIfe Of People IN Soviet  Gulags. Or check out this other video instead!

The date is August 14th, 1961. The location:  a dingy basement in the American Central  

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Insane But True Story Of A Real Life Assassin

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    Summer posted on 2020/09/20
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