Death of Another Putin Foe Being Investigated as a Homicide
A few days ago, I wrote about the death of Nikolai Glushkov, a Russian exile and former close associate of the late oligarch Boris Berezovsky. Glushkov had run afoul of Vladimir Putin and was jailed on money laundering and fraud charges in 2004. After he was released, he fled to Great Britain.
Berezovsky was with the Russian president during his rise to power in the 1990s until he had a falling out with him in 1999 and fled to London. In 2013, he was found hanging in his home -- a suicide, the coroner said.
Glushkov was found dead in his home on Monday. Today, British police say they have opened a homicide investigation into his death, citing a coroner's report that claims the cause of death was "neck compression."
The investigation comes at a time when British police are still trying to answer questions about the attack with a Soviet era nerve agent on still another enemy of Vladimir Putin, Sergei Skripal, in Salisbury, England. Prime Minister Theresa May will expel 23 Russian diplomats because of the responsibility for the attack being placed on the Russian government.
A special autopsy conducted Thursday determined the cause to be “compression to the neck,” Metropolitan police said in a statement. As a result, the agency’s Counter Terrorism Command, which has led the investigation from the beginning, is now treating Glushkov’s death as murder.
The determination comes as Britain is responding to a nerve agent attack on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England last week. Britain has blamed the Kremlin for orchestrating the attack and ordered the expulsion of 23 Russian intelligence officers posing as diplomats.
After the Skripal incident, British authorities announced they were re-opening investigations into 14 suspicious deaths that U.S. intelligence sources have reportedly linked to the Russian government. Berezovsky’s death is among the cases being re-examined.
A powerful businessman in Russia, Berezovsky helped facilitate the rise of Russian President Vladimir Putin in late 1990s. He later fell out of favor with Putin’s government and fled to London, where he became a prominent critic of the Kremlin.
Berezovsky was found hanging in his home in hanging in his home in Berkshire in 2013. Police ruled his death a suicide, but others, including the coroner, said other causes of death were possible.
State-sponsored assassination of political enemies living overseas used to be rare. Since Putin assumed power, they are expected. No, not all suspicious deaths of Putin enemies can be laid at his feet, but you have to be a full-blown dunce not to think that some of the dozens of violent deaths of journalists, human rights workers, former cronies, opposition political leaders, businessmen who crossed him, and anyone who has offended him are Putin's responsibility.