GRU colonel, Hero of Russia, Chechen War vet. Journalists say they’ve figured out who ‘Ruslan Boshirov’ really is

The cathedral-obsessed, possibly gay fitness instructor “Ruslan Boshirov” is an invention by Russia’s Military Intelligence Directorate — a fake identity given to GRU Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, according to the third investigative report by Bellingcat and The Insider about the two Russian men identified by the British authorities as the likely culprits behind the attempted murder of Sergey and Yulia Skripal in March (as well as the apparently accidental homicide of British citizen Dawn Sturgess). Chepiga was reportedly born on April 5, 1979, in the Amur region. He graduated from the Far Eastern Military Command Academy and then enlisted in the GRU’s 14th Spetsnaz Brigade in Khabarovsk, serving three tours of duty in Chechnya. In December 2014, Vladimir Putin allegedly gave Chepiga the country’s highest state award: the Hero of the Russian Federation medal. Bellingcat and The Insider believe this was likely for “heroism” in covert military operations in eastern Ukraine. Chepiga got his “Ruslan Boshirov” alter ego after moving to Moscow, where he trained at the the Military Diplomatic Academy, also known as the “GRU Conservatory,” Bellingcat says.