24 Apr 2018 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 24 Apr 2018 n° 40/2018 Russian Federation

Russian Journalist Dies Under Suspicious Circumstances

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ Article 19 EFJ/IFJ PEN RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ Article 19 EFJ/IFJ PEN RSF
Maksim Borodin, a Yekaterinburg-based investigative correspondent for the independent news website Novy Den, died on 15 April 2018 after falling on 12 April from the balcony of his fifth-floor apartment, local media and his employer reported.

In the few weeks prior to his death, Borodin gained national attention for his reporting on the deaths in Syria of Russian private military contractors fighting on the side of President Bashar al-Assad, according to the Guardian. The journalist also reported on corruption and the prison system in his native region of Sverdlovsk, the paper reported.

Russian police did not open a criminal investigation into Borodin's death saying there was no evidence pointing to suspicious circumstances surrounding his death, according to reports.

An unnamed spokesperson for Yekaterinburg's branch of Russia's Investigative Committee, the agency tasked with probing serious crimes, told the state news agency TASS that Borodin's apartment was locked from the inside and investigators did not find a suicide note in the journalist's apartment.

According to Yekaterina Norseyeva, a Novy Den correspondent in Yekaterinburg, it was "very unlikely" that Borodin had committed suicide. "He was going to be transferred to our Moscow bureau; he was full of plans," she said.

Borodin's friend, Vyacheslav Bashkov, on15 April wrote on his Facebook page that Borodin contacted him at 5 a.m. on 11 April and said that "security forces" wearing camouflage and face masks were on his balcony and in the interior staircase of his building. Borodin told Bashkov that he thought the security forces were waiting for a court order to search his apartment and asked Bashkov to help him find a lawyer, according to the Facebook post.

Bashkov wrote on Facebook that Borodin called him back an hour later and said he was mistaken and the security officers were conducting a drill.

In his Facebook post, Bashkov said that he went to local police after he found out about Borodin's death, but police seemed uninterested and "did not question [him] about much."
Follow-ups
25 Apr 2018
OSCE media freedom representative shocked by death of journalist in Russia, calls for full, transparent and independent investigation
Open in a new window show-link