Editor rejects suicide explanation by Russian authorities after investigative reporter falls to his death
Maksim Borodin who wrote on Moscow’s “shadow army” in Syria has died Sunday, after falling from the balcony of his apt in the Urals
Borodin, 32, from Yekaterinburg in the Russian Urals, sustained severe injuries on April 12 when he fell from the window of the fifth-floor apt
He died on April 15 in a hospital without recovering consciousness
Investigators said Monday they were not treating the death as suspicious
Borodin’s boss, Polina Rumyantseva, the editor in chief of Novy Den, said she did not believe he committed suicide
Other media watch groups have also expressed skepticism about the official account, demanding thorough investigation
Russian reporter Maksim Borodin, who investigated Syria mercenaries died Sunday from injuries sustained in a ‘balcony fall’
Russian investigative journalist Maksim Borodin from the city of Yekaterinburg has died of injuries sustained on April 12 when he fell from the window of his fifth-floor apartment.
Borodin, 32, died on April 15 in a hospital without recovering consciousness.
Officially, his death was being investigated as a suicide – A Sverdlovsk Oblast police spokesman said it was “unlikely that this story is of a criminal nature.”
Borodin was found underneath the balconies of his building on April 12 and died three days later.
Sverdlovsk Oblast police said Borodin’s reporter’s apartment was locked from the inside, and that there was no sign of a break-in. They added that no suicide note had been found.
Maksim Borodin [photo], recently wrote on the deaths of employees of the so-called “Wagner Group”, the private [mercenary] army Moscow is using in Syria
Maksim Borodin, who investigated Syria mercenaries worked for the news service Novy Den [New Day], and recently wrote on the deaths of employees of the so-called “Wagner Group”, the private army Moscow is using in Syria.
“There are no grounds for launching a case,” the local investigative committee told the TASS news agency Monday.
“Several versions are being considered, including that this was an unfortunate accident, but there is no sign a crime has been committed,” it said.
Borodin’s boss, Polina Rumyantseva, the editor in chief of Novy Den, said the same day that she did not believe the journalist committed suicide.
Contrary to the official account of his death, Borodin’s friend Vyacheslav Bashkov shared some details on Facebook on Sunday about the last time he spoke with the journalist.
Bashkov claims Borodin called him at 5 in the morning on April 11, alarmed that his building was surrounded by what appeared to be security forces wearing camouflage and masks.
He told Bashkov that he was certain his apartment was about to be searched, but that the authorities were waiting on a warrant. Just one hour later, Bashkov wrote, Borodin called him back to say he had been mistaken and the officers appeared to be carrying out a drill.
Borodin often wrote about crime, public corruption and secrecy. In February he published a report about Russian mercenaries who had been killed in Syria.
Thousands of these ‘mercenaries’ have reportedly been covertly deployed to Syria by a secretive contractor believed to be funded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy Putin ally recently indicted by the US over charges that he bankrolled a “troll factory” whose objective was to try to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Sverdlovsk Oblast police said Borodin’s death is likely suicide. His paper and other media watchers are calling foul play. demanding thorough investigation
Borodin reported on February 7, that a group of Russian mercenaries with tanks and artillery attacked territory held by U.S.-backed opponents of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The response by a U.S.-led international coalition with air strikes is believed to have killed dozens of Russian fighters.
Over 200 Russian mercenaries reportedly, died in the incident, although the Russian government has not confirmed the casualty toll.
In the article, Borodin identified several fighters from the Urals city of Asbest who had been killed. He also revealed that the bodies of the alleged mercenaries were being buried in the nearby village.
The local authorities have stated that they would not comment on the incident to foreign media. However, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has said Borodin’s death was “of serious concern”.
“I call on the authorities for a swift and thorough investigation,” a spokesman said on Twitter Monday.
Russia has a disturbing record of attacks on reporters, with 58 killed since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The group Reporters without Borders echoed the calls in a tweet saying: “We call for a thorough, impartial investigation into professional motive.”