A statue of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov has been unveiled in downtown Sofia nearly four decades after he was assassinated in London.

In September 1978, Markov was waiting for a bus at Waterloo Bridge when he was jabbed in the thigh with a poisoned umbrella tip in one of the most sensational assassinations of the Cold War. The journalist and harsh critic of Bulgaria's communist regime died four days later.

President Rosen Plevneliev, who unveiled the statue on Tuesday, said "the words of Georgi Markov spiritually liberated the Bulgarians even before the toppling of the communist regime."

Standing next to Markov's bronze statue in Sofia's Journalist square, his widow Annabel said that he has now returned to Bulgaria "as a permanent part of the landscape."