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What is kompromat? Bodyguard’s secret file that is important to the finale

Claire Toureille September 24, 2018
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If you’ve been watching Bodyguard religiously every Sunday, you might be wondering what the kompromat is, what it means and why it’s so important to the show’s finale.

In Bodyguard

If you’re not all caught up on Bodyguard and its explosive finale, you might want to skip this part or proceed at your own risk. Major spoilers ahead.

In Bodyguard, the kompromat is introduced as it is revealed the late Home Secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes) made a deal with MI-5 general director Stephen Hunter-Dunn (Stuart Bowman), who, in turn, gave her some information on Prime Minister Jon Vosler. She was using the information to blackmail Vosler.

BBC’s Conspiracy-heavy show Bodyguard reached its end yesterday. (BBC)

Several attempts at locating the kompromat failed, including a search of the house of her bodyguard David Budd (Richard Madden).

After Montague’s death, Budd finds the damaging material behind a framed picture of Julia Montague and David Cameron.

It is eventually leaked to the public by the police in the series finale.

What does kompromat mean?

The term “kompromat” comes from Russian and is the result of two words put together: “komprometiruyushchiy“ and “material,” which translates to compromising material.

In general, it refers to a Russian form of blackmail. In politics, Kompromat can be used to damage an opponent’s career and can include anything from videos to pictures or details of indiscretion. In Bodyguards case, we learn it contains details of crimes committed by PM Vosler that Montague was threatening to release.

 

In Bodyguard, Home Secretary Julia Montague used the Kompromat to blackmail the Prime Minister. (BBC)

Kompromat can be gathered by a country’s secret services, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be real to be effective. False information can damage a politician’s credibility just as well.

Modern day kompromat

The method has been around for years, and it is still extremely relevant to today’s politics. Think golden shower tapes.

Republican nominee Donald Trump gestures during the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on September 26, 2016. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty)

In 2016, while Donald Trump was still running for US president, BuzzFeed released an unverified dossier, which stated that Russian secret services got a hold of a video of Trump frolicking with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel.

The information was never verified, but the doubt remains: whether the tapes really exist or not, a portion of the public possibly still suspect they do. That’s kompromat.

Related topics: BBC drama, bodyguard, Bodyguard BBC, richard madden

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