The editor of a Russian investigation reporter who died after falling from from his fifth-floor apartment window has expressed doubt amid police claims that the journalist killed himself.
Maksim Borodin, 32, who 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.
Amid the ensuing investigation, 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.
Borodin 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.
His friend Vyacheslav Bashkov described talking to the reporter hours before his fall in a post on Facebook. He said the journalist called him Wednesday in a state of distress at five in the morning, saying armed men wearing masks and camouflaged uniforms were on his balcony and had surrounded his apartment.
“Maxim was of the opinion that very shortly they will break in. But for the time being, it looked like they were waiting for permission from the court. So therefore he needed a lawyer, which is why he called me.
“His voice was worried but not hysterical, he wasn’t drunk, so I took everything seriously and promised to call who I could and then report back to him."
Bashkov went on to say that Borodin called him back an hour later to apologise, saying he made a mistake and the security officials might have been conducting a drill. But within hours, he was dead.
“I might be the last person he spoke to,” Bashkov said.
In another Facebook post, Alexei Navalny’s electoral campaign manager Leonid Volkov, who said he was a friend of Borodin, poured doubt on theories that he may have been murdered, saying he was struggling to progress in his career and might have intentionally leapt over his balcony while drunk.
Borodin's funeral arrangements were announced Monday on Novy Den. Friends and colleagues have been invited to attend the ceremony on Wednesday.