As I have written about in the past, I look at things from the macro point of view, which is what brought me to write the award-winning Banker Suicide stories.
While most journalists — including myself — wrote about bankers killing themselves, I looked at many of these cases together to stitch together the commonality between them.
So now I’ve been following the “purge” in the Russian government in the last 5 months since the American election.
The list of deaths below:
1. Vladimir Evdokimov, a top official with the Russian space agency. Evdokimov, 56, was the executive director for quality control at Roscosmos, the country’s spaceflight and research agency. He was killed in a Russia prison were he was jailed in December on charges of embezzling $3.1 million from the MiG aerospace company.
2. You probably remember Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov — he was assassinated by a police officer at a photo exhibit in Ankara on December 19.
3. On the same day, another diplomat, Peter Polshikov, was shot dead in his Moscow apartment. The gun was found under the bathroom sink but the circumstances of the death were under investigation. Polshikov served as a senior figure in the Latin American department of the Foreign Ministry.
4. Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died in New York on Feb. 20, 2017. Churkin was rushed to the hospital from his office at Russia’s UN mission. Initial reports said he suffered a heart attack, and the medical examiner per State Dept the cause of death will not be released due to diplomatic protocol.
5. Russia’s Ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, died after a “brief illness January 27, which The Hindu said he had been suffering from for a few weeks.
6. Russian Consul in Athens, Greece, Andrei Malanin, was found dead in his apartment January 9. A Greek police official said there was “no evidence of a break-in.” But Malanin lived on a heavily guarded street. The cause of death needed further investigation, per an AFP report. Malanin served during a time of easing relations between Greece and Russia when Greece was increasingly critiqued by the EU and NATO.
7. Ex-KGB chief Oleg Erovinkin, who was suspected of helping draft the Trump dossier, was found dead in the back of his car December 26, according to The Telegraph. Erovinkin also was an aide to former deputy prime minister Igor Sechin, who now heads up state-owned Rosneft.
8. On the morning of U.S. Election Day, Russian diplomat Sergei Krivov was found unconscious at the Russian Consulate in New York and died on the scene. Initial reports said Krivov fell from the roof and had blunt force injuries, but Russian officials said he died from a heart attack. BuzzFeed reports Krivov may have been a Consular Duty Commander, which would have put him in charge of preventing sabotage or espionage.
If you expand the time frame a little further…
9. If you go back a few months prior in September 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s driver was killed too in a freak car accident while driving the Russian President’s official black BMW to add to the insanity.
10. In November 2015, a senior adviser to Putin, Mikhail Lesin, who was also the founder of the media company RT, was found dead in a Washington hotel room according to the NYT. The Russian media said it was a “heart attack,” but the medical examiner said it was “blunt force injuries.”
11. Denis Voronenkov a former member of the Dumas and an open critic of Vladimir Putin was shot down in broad daylight outside the Premier Palace Hotel in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on March 22, 2017.
While this appears to be the “usual” purge that has been documented over the last 100 years since the Tsarist revolution. Since communism took hold in 1917, millions of Russians have met their demise at the hands of leaders in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Fast forward to present day as Vladimir Putin’s government. Putin has led Russia for the last 17 years in a variety of titles as the country underwent political change after Mikhail Gorbachev leadership.
It appears that Putin needed to re-consolidate his power after the Crimea revolution, which created division within his government. Nevertheless I will keep my eye on this.