A Russian investigative journalist has died in hospital after falling from the balcony of his fifth-floor flat.
Maksim Borodin, 32, who had written about the deaths of Russian mercenaries in Syria, was discovered by neighbours after he was found injured from his fall in Yekaterinburg’s Kirov district, according to The New York Times.
He was rushed to hospital, where he died three days later.
According to RFERL, local authorities have dismissed foul play, and are treating the death as a suicide.
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Vyacheslav Bashkov, a friend of Borodin’s, has also said that the journalist had contacted him two days before his death, saying that there was “someone with a weapon on his (Borodin’s) balcony, and people in camouflage and masks on the staircase landing”. Bashkov also claims Borodin had asked him to contact a lawyer.
Borodin had recently written about the ‘Wagner Group’, a Russian mercenary company that operated in Syria last year. Members of the group had reportedly been killed in Deir-es-Zour province while engaging with US forces on 7 February.
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Last month, Borodin wrote that three of those killed had come from the Sverdlovsk region in the Urals, in which Yekaterinburg is the main city.
Much of Russia’s media is state-controlled or vulnerable to state pressure. In Freedom House listings, the country ranks 83rd out of 100 countries in press freedom.
Journalists are also frequently killed in Russia. Four journalists died last year alone, including Dmitry Popkov, who was found dead from gunshot wounds near his home in Minusisnk in March, 2017.
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