Journalist Looking into Russia’s ‘Shadow Army’ in Syria Dies After Balcony Fall

Maksim Borodin
Russian investigative reporter Maksim Borodin

A Russian journalist who wrote on Moscow’s “shadow army” in Syria has died after falling from the balcony of his fifth-floor flat, but investigators said on Monday that his death was not treated as suspicious.

Maksim Borodin fell from his apartment in Yekaterinburg, a major city in the Urals, last week and died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday, news agencies reported. He worked for the news service Noviy Den’ (New Day) and recently wrote on the deaths of employees of the so-called “Wagner Group,” the private army Moscow is using in Syria.

“There are no grounds for launching a case,” the local investigative committee told the TASS news agency on Monday. “Several versions are being considered, including that this was an unfortunate accident, but there is no sign a crime has been committed.”

The local committee told AFP it would not comment on the incident to foreign media. But Harlem Desir, the representative for freedom of the media at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said Borodin’s death was “of serious concern.”

“I call on the authorities for a swift and thorough investigation,” he said on Twitter Monday.

Russia has a disturbing record of attacks on reporters, with 58 killed since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.