Another Russian Whistleblower Has Died Under “Mysterious” Circumstances — Nigeria Today
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Another Russian Whistleblower Has Died Under “Mysterious” Circumstances

Maxim Borodin is a Russian journalist.

Or rather, he was.

He died in hospital on Sunday after falling from his balcony in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, reports HuffPost:

He fell from his fifth-floor balcony on Thursday, The New York Times reported, and neighbors found him critically injured at the foot of the building. He was rushed to the hospital, where he died from his injuries three days later.

At the young age of 32, Borodin was a reporter for the Yekaterinburg-based Ria Novy Den news agency and, while a death like this might immediately be entered as a “suicide” in most instances, Borodin was known for his coverage of high-profile corruption and criminal cases.

In Russia, a country whose president loudly, and proudly, claimed that “traitors will kick the bucket”, that’s a dangerous game to play:

As an investigative journalist, Borodin had written about many sensitive subjects over the course of his career. Most recently, he’d reported on the February deaths of alleged Russian mercenaries linked to a shadowy paramilitary organization known as the “Wagner Group” in Syria.

Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin is suspected of bankrolling the Wagner Group. The U.S. indicted him in February on charges of backing the so-called troll factory that spearheaded Russian efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Thousands of Wagner mercenaries are allegedly involved in military operations in Syria. In February, dozens — or possibly hundreds — of them reportedly died in a clash with U.S. troops near the town of Deir al-Zour. As the New Yorker noted, it was the first time in half a century that Russian and U.S. military forces had engaged in direct combat.

Furthermore, there are the events surrounding the incident that cast doubt on the suicide angle:

A spokesman for the interior ministry for the Sverdlovsk region told CNN that Borodin’s apartment was found locked from the inside, suggesting that “no one exited the apartment and most likely there were no strangers in there” at the time of his fall…

Some of Borodin’s friends and colleagues, however, have expressed skepticism at this assessment. One friend, Paulina Andreevna, said in a Facebook post that Borodin had been hospitalized [sic] earlier this month after a stranger attacked him outside his home. Last October, an assailant reportedly hit Borodin over the head with a steel pipe shortly after he’d reported on a controversial movie about Tsar Nicholas II.

Borodin, below:

A friend and local civil rights activist Vyacheslav Bashkov shared more:

“[Borodin’s] work was very dangerous. He was one of the best.”

Bashkov said Borodin had contacted him early in the morning on the day before his fall to say that men in “camouflage and masks” were surrounding his apartment. He reportedly described “someone with a weapon on his balcony” and others “on the staircase landing.”

But Borodin later called back to say he may have been mistaken about the masked men and that they were security personnel taking part in a training exercise, Bashkov said.

And Ria Novy Den’s editor-in-chief, Paulina Rumyantseva, said suicide was an unlikely cause:

“As Maxim had big plans for his personal life and career, there is nothing to support a verdict of suicide,” she told CNN.

In light of all this, media watchdog groups have called for an impartial investigation into Borodin’s sudden death – and we couldn’t agree more.

Following the poisoning of  Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia, I suspect these high-profile deaths are going to be reported on more often going forward.


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