Russian investigative journalist dies after mysterious fall

Journalist Maxim Borodin regularly published stories on crime and corruption, and recently wrote about the deaths of Russian mercenaries in Syria

Maxim Borodin
Maxim Borodin

A Russian investigative journalist who wrote about the deaths of mercenaries in Syria has died in hospital after falling from his fifth-floor flat.

Maxim Borodin was found badly injured by neighbours in Yekaterinburg and taken to hospital. He worked for news agency Novy Den (New Day), failed to regain consciousness and died from injuries sustained in the fall on Sunday (April 15), three days after the incident.

Local officials said no suicide note was found but the incident was unlikely to be of a criminal nature.

The editor of a Russian news agency has expressed doubt amid police claims that the journalist killed himself. Borodin’s editor-in-chief, Polina Rumyantseva, said she didn’t believe the reporter tried to take his own life, RFE/RL reported.

Police are treating his death as a suicide. A Sverdlovsk Oblast police spokesman said his Yekaterinburg apartment was locked from the inside and there was no sign of forced entry. But officers had not yet recovered a suicide note.

However, a friend revealed Borodin had said his flat had been surrounded by security men a day earlier.

Vyacheslav Bashkov described Borodin as a "principled, honest journalist" and said Borodin had contacted him at five o'clock in the morning on 11 April saying there was "someone with a weapon on his balcony and people in camouflage and masks on the staircase landing".

Borodin was looking for a lawyer, he explained, although he later called him back saying he was wrong and that the security men had been taking part in some sort of exercise.

The journalist regularly published stories on crime and corruption. His latest articles concerned electoral fraud, and the deaths of Russian mercenaries in Syria amid escalating bombing campaigns in the region.

Journalists in Russia have often been harassed or attacked in recent years for their work. On the same day that Maxim Borodin was found fatally injured, the editor of an official regional newspaper was assaulted in Yekaterinburg, reports say.

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