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Pro-FSB Spy Thriller Sees Fictional Navalny Killed

Screenshot “Spyashiye” (Sleepers) / 1st Channel

Russia's anti-corruption lawyer is killed off by U.S. spies after outing the FSB in a bribery scheme. A bomb blast leaves no trace apart from a massive ink stain on a nearby wall.

The character Pyotr Asmolov, dubbed the creator of “Russia’s WikiLeaks,” is killed off in the first episode of Russia’s newest TV spy thriller, “Spyashiye” (Sleepers).  

“Spyashiye” premiered Monday at primetime on state-run Channel One. Set in 2013 amid an international crisis, the thriller focuses on Russia’s investigation into an activated foreign sleeper cell in Moscow. The new drama is based on real-life events, according to the broadcaster.

Ekho Moskvy radio station host Alexander Plyushchev devoted Tuesday morning’s broadcast to the new television program. He is convinced that Asmolov’s character was based on opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is also head of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, an organization that publishes video investigations into the lavish lifestyles of high-ranking government officials — preparing legal cases against corrupt individuals committing fraud.

Plyushchev described the murder of the fictional character Asmolov by American “sleeper agents” as an attempt to implicate the FSB in retaliation for uncovering their secret contract with China.

“The 12 kilogram of TNT equivalent leaves a neighboring building untouched,” Plyushchev said to his co-host. “But the building [next to] where the local Navalny’s car is parked has a giant ink stain. I couldn’t contain my laughter.”

On his Telegram channel later on Tuesday, Plyushchev described the fictional Asmolov as a “giant cotton-wool octopus.”

“Spyashiye” scriptwriter, journalist, and talk show host Sergei Minayev said on Oct. 2 that he used material culled from his acquaintances: “The film was based on a real story about an operation of the Russian special services and their counteraction to Western intelligence.”

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