‘Fatal’ Balconies to the Ones who Stirred up the Hornet of the Kremlin

An eloquent heading „Why do so Many Enemies of Russia Die After Falling from Balconies?“ above the publication of the British daily ‘The Daily Mail‘ (14 November) telling that at the beginning of November James Le Mesurier, a…

An eloquent heading „Why do so Many Enemies of Russia Die After Falling from Balconies?“ above the publication of the British daily ‘The Daily Mail‘ (14 November) telling that at the beginning of November James Le Mesurier, a former British army officer, 48-year old was found dead on Beyoğlu street of Istanbul who fell from the upper floor flat who was an active father of two children, founder of the organization Syrian Civil Defence (widely known as White Helmets) and of a non-governmental organization Mayday Rescue. “Did he fall down or was he pushed down?, the daily asked when Turkish police rushed to report the version of the suicide as the most probable, although the results of autopsy showed not only a fractured skull and broken legs, but also the faced injured by a sharp item. That night Emma Winberg, wife of the deceased told the police that her husband was taking strong medicine from the stress that was caused by attacks against his organization. One can get into the building through the back door only after passing fingerprint identification system and video cameras did not fix anything.      
J.Le Mesurier established Mayday Rescue and White Helmets 5 years ago with their offices in Amsterdam and Istanbul and started preparing volunteers who had to rescue people in Syria invaded with a civil war when no other humanitarian organization had chances to get into the zones of conflict. Over 2.8 thousand volunteers later rescued over 100 thousand people. The organization was supported by the United Nations, governments of the European Union, Japan, Turkey and international organizations (also Mayday Rescue, established by him). It seems weird that organization seeking noble goals and its leader became a target of attacks.        
J.Le Mesurier and White Helmets were the target of the Russian propaganda. Three days before his death he was charged in public of belonging to the British Secret Intelligence Service Mi-6.  Since he rescued people on both sides of the conflict, besides he was documenting the attacks during which peaceful people were killed, he fell into disfavour (to tell it moderately) of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his allies. Such a thing that the ally of Moscow was not among the dictator is not possible, which blamed volunteers for their support to the Islam terrorists and ‘staged’ victims of chemical attacks (B. al-Assad has been charged of this several times). ‘The Daily Mail’ cited Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, J.Le Mesurier’s friend: “Too many people having problems with Russia fall from the balconies and these accidents remain unsolved”.
A list of journalists, lawyers, etc. that crossed the Kremlin’s path and died after falling from balconies is quite long. Maxim Borodin, a journalist who was investigating the state corruption in Russia and acts of the hired Russians in Syria died last year after falling from the balcony in his apartment in Yekaterinburg. A year ago the attorney Nikolay Gorochov, auditors’ Sergey Magnytsky who was killed ten years ago in the Russian prison Matrosskaya tishina, fell from the fourth floor window and died. In 2007 Ivan Safronov, who was investigating delivery of Russian armament to Iran and Syria fell from the fifth floor. A little bit earlier a journalist Olga Kotovskaya fell from the window of the 14-storey building.
Quite a few British met similar fate (if we assume that no outsiders were involved in J.Le Mesurier’s death) – in December 2014 Scott Young, 52-yar old real estate developer, was found dead thrusted by the beams of the metal fence after he fell from the window of 4-storey building in a prestigious Marylebone district in London where his girl-friend lived. Later his ex-wife Michelle Young told Heidi Blake, the editor of the Internet media Buzz Feed News (since 2017) that her ex-husband could have been killed and she passed the material that confirmed S. Young relations with business magnates, who ran away to the United Kingdom and fell into disfavour of Vladimir Putin, President of Russia.   
After two years of investigation of Special Services documents, evidence of officers and S. Young friends carried out by Buzz Feed News they came to the same conclusion as the Intelligence Service of the USA – a real estate developer of the Scottish origin could have been among those 14 who were killed in the UK by Special Intelligence Services or crime groups of Russia.
Boris Berezovsky, a business magnate expelled from his motherland is also on the list. In 2013 he was found hung (strangled up) in his own apartment and also 8 people from his circle. An emigrant from a low social background S. Young used to introduce himself in Moscow and London as a consultant of the first TV channel or real estate developer; however B. Berezovsky was his principal long-term employer who trusted the Brit unconditionally. S. Young found a real estate for the business magnate in the UK and fulfilled his most delicate tasks (H. Blake calls S. Young the “shadow” of S. Berezovsky). Both enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle – a real estate developer could spend 50 thousand pounds a night at the prestigious night club Boujis, his boss used to “bring” ladies of easy virtue on a regular basis from post-soviet republics; he bought Rolls Roy’s decorated with cherubs for 80 thousand pounds to one of them, which later disappeared but ‘the shadow’ managed to return it somehow…     
S.Young was in horror of being poisoned and asked the police to provide a personal bodyguard. The horror increased after several deaths in the same circle of people. Millionaires Paul Castle and Robby Curtis used to have dinner with B. Berezovsky in the London restaurant Cipriani. In 2010 P. Castle was jumped down and was run over by an underground train and in 2012 R. Curtis chose the same way of a suicide. Friends of both of them are sure that Russian mafia had something to do with this. Another businessman from Cipriani circle Johnny Eliciaoff in November 2014 settled scores with his life by jumped off the roof. In this regard H. Blake reminds that Special Intelligence Services dispose technologies that can get a person off balance that results in committing a suicide.        
S.Young and B.Berzovsky’s daughters doubt whether their fathers decided to commit a suicide. S. Young was in horror of heights. Professor Bernd Brinkmann, a forensic pathologist, who examined the pictures of the dead body of the Russian oligarch in the questionnaires for investigation of the circumstances of death, wrote that most probably the latter was strangled to death. Elizaveta Berezovskaya told the coroner, who arrived to the place of her father’s death: “Father told that V. Putin is a threat to the whole world. Now you can see that”. The British Intelligence Service has not considered these 14 deaths some kind of mysterious.
H. Blake’s book ‘From Russia with Blood: Putin’s Ruthless Killing Campaign and Secret War on the West’ that came into light on November 19 based on the investigation is some kind of a fusion of the novel of spies and historical investigation, actually is a chronicle of the last 30 years war for the power in post-soviet Russia (we should not forget that the oligarch B. Berezovsky was one of the main people who brought V. Putin to the office of the President in 2000), where the central topic is taken murderous attempts, mysterious deaths and homicides. By the way, the investigation was far away from being safe, people working on it always felt being followed, one reporter still suspects that his flat had been secretly searched.      
During the book presentation to the magazine ‘Time’ (13 November) the author indicated that authorities of Europe and USA in order to maintain the order that has been established after World War II and being not able to ignore dependence on the Russian power attempted to involve President of Russia to Western structures and unions such as ‘A Group of Eight”, NATO, etc. for a long time and simply ignored questionable deaths in its own territory. In this sense, the reaction to poisoning Alexander Litvinenko, a consistent critic of V. Putin, former KGB, and later FSB officer in November 2006 says a lot. The government of the UK resisted against a comprehensive investigation of the homicide for 8 years to the benefit of ‘international relations’ with Moscow and just after poisoning of another ex-intelligence officer of Russia Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury and a tremendous outrage that arouse after that admitted that A. Litvinenko most probably was killed under the order of V. Putin.
Events in Salisbury made the government of the UK realize that killing acts of Russia became out of control and their goal is to demonstrate power of Moscow and make everybody know that the one who falls in President’s V.Putin disfavour will never find a safe place in the West, either. In recent years it became obvious that President of Russia never tried to cooperate in good faith with the West and had a secret war with democratic states. “I think that one more mysterious death is just a matter of time”, J.Blake summarized in her interview to ‘Time’.
Of course, we have a Baltic motive of ‘fatal balconies’. Vytautas Pociūnas, a former activist of Sąjūdis who worked in the State Security Department, became a colonel and in autumn 2005 was unexpectedly appointed Minister Counsellor by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and posted to the Consulate General of Lithuania in Grodno, died after his fall from the window in Intourist hotel on 23 August 2006. Right after this event the highest officers of Lithuania declared that investigation of the colonel V. Pociūnas death is a matter of the state honour. However, when investigation started, Darius Jurgelevičius, Deputy Director General of the SSD warned then: ‘do not dig bones’. Not long after that the State Security Department managed by the President Valdas Adamkus warned the Prosecutor General also that the case of V. Pociūnas had to be finished as soon as possible. Finally, the story stayed in the ‘intermediate’ condition without any specific answers, the situation is unsolved 14 years later.
For several years a lot of ‘stories’ were published in public about this situation, for instance, probably V.Pociūnas fell from the hotel window after he tried to pee standing on the windowsill. If we eliminate an obvious cynicism openly demonstrated in public, the situation reminds of ‘carelessness’ of the British government talking about 14 deaths in the territory of the UK. It seems that the British started putting two and two together. The moral to Lithuania: having in mind that clearing rate of our collective consciousness is very favourable to internal influences, we can expect that the moment of truth will be after 50 years.    
Arūnas Spraunius 

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