The United States has joined media watchdogs in calling on Russian authorities to thoroughly investigate the death of Russian investigative journalist Maksim Borodin last week.
The United States is “shocked” by the death of Borodin “under mysterious circumstances,” Harry Kamian, the new U.S. charge d’affaires to the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, said in a statement delivered on April 19 to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.
“We note that Borodin’s colleagues stated he showed no signs of depression, and they expressed doubt that he committed suicide,” Kamian also said.
He added that “the majority of the killings of journalists in Russia remain unsolved, which has a detrimental effect on media freedom in the country.”
Borodin of Yekaterinburg died on April 15 of injuries sustained three days earlier when he fell from the window of his fifth-floor apartment.
Officially, his death was being investigated as a suicide.
Borodin, 32, regularly wrote on crime and corruption for the independent news website Novy Den. In recent weeks, he wrote extensively about the deaths in February of Russian mercenaries fighting in Syria, identifying several fighters from the Urals city of Asbest who had been killed.
In a statement on April 16, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Russian authorities must “consider the possibility that [Borodin] was killed in retribution for his reporting.”
"We call on Russian authorities to launch an effective, fair, and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Maksim Borodin's death and not to rule out foul play," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said.
"Russia has a record of brushing aside suspicious deaths of members of the press," she added.
The OSCE representative on freedom of the media, Harlem Desir, on April 13 also called for a “full, transparent, and independent” probe into Borodin’s death.
Desir also urged Russian authorities to bring the perpetrators and masterminds of a brutal attack against the editor of the Oblastnaya Gazeta newspaper in Yekaterinburg on April 12 to justice.
Dmitry Polyanin was hospitalized with multiple injuries after being beaten by at least two assailants with metal bars, he said.