In the past 22 months, at least 14 Russian functionaries were murdered or unexpectedly died:
- November 5, 2015: Mikhail Lesin, 57, a senior adviser to Putin and founder of the popular counter-propaganda media company RT, was killed in Washington, DC, according to one source, by a blunt weapon (his death was originally blamed on a heart attack). “After a year-long investigation, Washington’s chief medical examiner and federal authorities released a joint statement saying he died of blunt-force trauma to his head sustained in his hotel room, induced by falls amid acute ethanol intoxication.” So, it took them one year to decide that this death was nothing more than a drunken Russian accidentally killing himself!
- May 2016: Andrei Vorobiev, 56, Russian charge d’affaires in Ukraine, died, allegedly from a stroke.
- September 2016: While driving alone in the president’s official car, Vladimir Putin’s favorite chauffeur was killed in a head-on collision with a vehicle that crossed over from the opposite side of the road. “Known as MK, the chauffeur had been employed as an official government driver for more than 40 years.” According to one source, “such an audacious attempt on the life of President Putin could ‘only be coordinated by an inside group of foreign secret service agents.’”
- November 8, 2016: Sergei Krivov, 63, head of security affairs of the Russian Consulate in New York, was found dead “with multiple face and head trauma,” according to the initial NY Police Department report. Later, a spokesperson for the medical examiner’s office called it a “natural death.”
- December 19, 2016: Andrei Karlov, Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey, 62, was assassinated by a Turkish police officer while delivering a speech at a photo exhibit in Ankara. Putin felt that this murder was “clearly a provocation aimed at undermining the improvement and normalization of Russian-Turkish relations, as well as undermining the peace process in Syria.” The Turkish president concurred: “Both Turkey and Russia have the will not to be deceived by this false flag attack.” Ankara’s Mayor linked US-based preacher and CIA front man, Fethullah Gulen “to the cold-blooded murder of Andrei Karlov, who was shot five times in the back at an art gallery.” A Russian Senator and a Putin ally said it could be ISIS, Kurdish Army, or, most likely, the secret services of a NATO country. A day later, a Deep State tabloid suggested another reason: This murder could precipitate a Russian attack on Turkey, which in turn could lead to World War III.
- December 19, 2016: Peter Polshikov, 56, a Putin aide, a member of the Ministry of Defense, and a Latin America specialist, was shot dead in his Moscow apartment. The gun was found under the bathroom sink but the circumstances of the death continued to be under investigation. According to another source, Polshikov was shot dead in his apartment in what appears to be a murder staged to look as a suicide.
- December 26, 2016: Oleg Erovinkin, age 60 or 61, ex-KGB chief, was found dead in Moscow in the back of his car. Erovinkin also was an aide to former deputy prime minister Igor Sechin, who now heads state-owned petrol conglomerate Rosneft.
- December 27, 2016: Skrylnikov, a Russian diplomat, was found dead in Kazakhstan. His sudden death was attributed to a heart attack.
- January 9, 2017: Andrei Malanin, 55, Russia’s Consul to Greece, was found dead in his Athens apartment. Malanin served during a time of improving relations between Greece and Russia, following the Deep State’s deliberate impoverishment of the Greek people. A Greek police official said there was “no evidence of a break-in.” The cause of death needed further investigation, according to the AFP news agency.
- January 14, 2017, Vladimir Dedushkin, Russian Ambassador to Yemen , died in the capital Sanaa. The initial report claiming that he was shot was subsequently retracted.
- January 27, 2017: Alexander Kadakin, 67, Russia’s Ambassador to India, died in New Delhi after a brief illness.
- February 20, 2017: Vitaly Churkin. 64, Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, died in New York City. Churkin was rushed to the hospital from his office. “He had a history of heart problems and also suffered from leukaemia.” “Chief editor of Echo Moscow radio station Alexei Venediktov said that Vitaly Churkin had diplomatic immunity, which means that his autopsy contradicted the norms of diplomacy. Venediktov, with reference to American press, also said that there was a medical report that said that Churkin had been poisoned by the food that he took at midnight.”
- March 20, 2017: Vladimir Evdokimov, 52, top official of Russia’s space agency, was found dead in his Moscow prison cell (where he was being questioned on charges of embezzlement). Investigators found two stab wounds on Evdokimov’s body, but no determination had been made of whether they were self-inflicted. (Note: I shall set aside this case, because it involves a suspected criminal sitting in a “pre-trial detention center,” accused of taking part in a $3 million fraud scheme. “He is by no means the only space industry official to have been locked up for fraud, and in fact, over the past several years, the Russian space program as a whole has been hit by scandal after scandal: Rockets have been doomed by shoddy work and efforts to build a new launch site in the Far East have been plagued by corruption.” Until now, however “no one caught up in the industry’s rampant corruption problem has died.” The most likely explanation in this case is contract killing—a punishment for cooperating with investigators. “Evdokimov’s foes feared he could tell their names to the investigation and uncover their criminal schemes.”)
- August 23, 2017. Mirgayas M. Shirinsky, 62, Russian Ambassador to Sudan, drowned while swimming in the pool of his official residence in Khartoum. The drowning, allegedly, was caused by a “serious heart seizure.” Shirinsky suffered from high blood pressure. Sudanese police have ruled out the possibility of an assassination attempt.
- August 25, 2017: Mukhmad Askhabov, 61, a Communist Party member of Chechnya’s parliament, was gunned down by unidentified attackers.
A Curious Pattern?
So we have here 14 dead officials (ignoring #13 above), of just one nationality, of an approximate average age at death of 60 (based on the disclosed age of 11 individuals in this group).
No other nation, during that period, suffered similar disasters. Even if we put aside the 6 members of this group who were admittedly murdered, one, two, or perhaps three individuals in the remainder of this group might have committed suicide, died in an accident, or died of natural causes. However, it is highly unlikely that the 8 remaining functionaries died of natural causes.
Even Russophobe James Clapper, former U.S. Director of National Intelligence, agrees:
“Well, this obviously has been a curious pattern.”
How can this Cluster of Deaths be Explained?
It is possible—but highly unlikely—that this pattern is traceable to random killings or deaths from natural causes.
A related explanation has been put forward by Bryan MacDonald:
“Moscow has been forced to rely on older envoys; born, raised, and trained in the Soviet era. So, at a time when attachés from western European states are already retired, their Russian peers are still at the coalface. And, naturally, the problem with older people is that they tend to die more frequently than their younger peers.”
Taken as a group, these officials reached their life expectancy, and besides, diplomacy is a stressful job.
But this fails to account for 6 probable murders in our group of 14. This explanation dismisses, overall, political assassinations as conspiracy theories, even though a passing acquaintance with the historical record conclusively shows that assassinations are as common as snowflakes in Moscow’s winter (see below). And it fails to explain this; why don’t we observe similar death clusters in earlier post-Stalinist Russian history? Why don’t we observe such clusters in countries where life expectancy is similar to that of Russians born in the 1950s (60.5 years)?
So it is possible—but highly unlikely—that old age accounts for the observed cluster of deaths.
Deep State functionaries and journalists have no problem in immediately identifying the killers. Here is assassination chief Clapper again:
“We have had difficulty, though, in actually generating an evidentiary trail that could equate convincingly and compellingly in a court of law a direct connection between certain figures that have been eliminated who apparently ran afoul of Putin.”
In my view, this conspiratorial insinuation—that Vladimir Vladimirovich is behind these murders—is groundless. First, despite endless allegations, there is not one shred of concrete evidence that Putin has ever ordered the assassination of anyone.
Second, couldn’t Putin resolve alleged insubordination or treason by simply firing or legally prosecuting subordinates, instead of needlessly risking his reputation and future by ordering their murder?
Third, and most important, many of the dead 14 were unknown to Putin or were Putin loyalists. As just one example, let’s consider the case of Vitaly Churkin. “Churkin served as Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2006 until his death in 2017.” Would an enemy of Putin be allowed to serve in that important post for over a decade?
Moreover, according to one MI6 publication, Churkin had “Kremlin backing.” Churkin’s death was a hard blow to Putin’s Russia, for “Churkin epitomised the peak of professionalism in his country’s diplomatic service, mastering the detailed dossiers of every conflict and crisis around the world while explaining Russia’s stance with clarity, firmness and dignity.” “Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said that it would be very difficult to replace Vitaly Churkin.”
Likewise, was Putin’s favorite driver disloyal? Did Mukhmad Askhabov (#15 above) run afoul of Putin? Did Putin even know about this MP’s existence?
This hypothesis must therefore follow the footsteps of its predecessors: Possible, but highly unlikely.
Insurgents or Terrorists?
Another conspiracy theory traces the murders to insurgents or terrorists. The most probable candidates for such an operation are the Islamic State (ISIS), Al-Qaeda, or some other brand of the Wahhabi ideology
To begin with, these organizations have been created and supported by the CIA/MI6/Mossad and the Wahhabi regimes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and their allies, in an effort to undermine the fairly secular regimes of Russia, China, Afghanistan, and numerous other Asian and African countries. These terrorists appear to depend on their creators for their very existence, funding, and weapons. If they are involved in the murders of Russian functionaries, they do so at least in part with the consent of their Western and Wahhabi state sponsors. Besides, it is unlikely that terrorists could, on their own, carry out such a sophisticated assassination project. Also, their operations, for reasons best known to their Western controllers, seem to be exclusively directed at ordinary people, not at powerful officials. Finally, they almost always take credit for their actions, but, as far as I know, they have never bragged about dead Russian officials.
So again, this explanation is possible—but unlikely.
The Deep State?
Zero Hedge obliquely touches on the likeliest explanation, referring to mid-level Deep State operative James Clapper: “Perhaps the former head of US intelligence was merely projecting US tactics onto the Russians.” In other words, our last hypothesis traces the murders of Russian officials to the Deep State and its MI6/CIA/Mossad darlings.
This conspiratorial view receives strong, but not conclusive, support from the following:
Some of the 14 deaths are associated with a troubling lack of transparency. Here are two New York City examples.
“On 21 February 2017 the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office released the preliminary results of an autopsy performed on Churkin, which states that the cause of death needed further study, which often indicates the need for toxicology tests. A gag order issued in March pursuant to a request of the U.S. State Department suppressed release of the cause of death, citing Churkin’s ongoing posthumous diplomatic immunity.”
Are we to believe that the State Department is trying to protect Putin or the Russian government? If not, why the cover up? And what is the meaning of Russia’s silence, in the face of such a flagrant provocation?
“Initial reports said the nameless man had plunged to his death from the roof of the consulate. As journalists rushed to the scene, consular officials quickly changed the narrative. The anonymous man had not fallen dozens of feet from the roof of the consular building, they said, but rather had suffered a heart attack in the security office, and died.
“Police officers said the death of Sergei Krivov — his name revealed here publicly for the first time — looked natural, and listed the case as closed.
“Three months after he was found dead, as tensions between the US and Russia reach a fever pitch, the New York City medical examiner isn’t sure he had a heart attack after all.”
But in this case too, the story lines changes:
“After BuzzFeed News published this story, the Medical Examiner’s office said that, while it did continue investigating the cause of death, the office had determined Krivov died naturally.
“It was Krivov’s job to make sure US intelligence agencies didn’t have ears in the building.
“The New York City Health Department declined BuzzFeed News’ request to search for records related to Krivov’s death, saying that by standard practices, any search had to be requested by a family member.
“The State Department, after being initially responsive, abruptly told BuzzFeed News it wouldn’t help.
“The more questions that were asked about Krivov, the less people wanted to talk.”
Likewise, in a strange break from normal practices, the NYPD denied BuzzFeed’s request for an incident report.
Ask yourself, who is the Health Department more likely to protect, the Russian government or the American?
The Overall Historical Record
Like the rulers of most empires in history, the Controllers of the Anglosphere (a handful of trillionaire bankers and royals and their allies and subordinates in the corporate, media, military, intelligence, political, and judicial world), seek ever more power, riches, and carnage. They are likely to pursue any course of action, no matter how heinous, immoral, treacherous, or genocidal, provided only that it is likely to increase their power and wealth or that it gives them pleasure. In his Rouble Nationalization (2012), Nikolai Starikov sums up the proven historical record:
“Since , the Anglo-Saxons have been following one rule in politics, and this rule is that there are no rules.”
That rule applies, without exceptions, to the entire historical record, from the Boxer Rebellion to the Boer War to the Potato Famine to the extermination of the Tasmanians; from the genocide of Native Americans to the contemporary slow genocides of Palestinians, Libyans, Iraqis, Syrians, and Yemenis; from deliberately producing a drug epidemic in the USA and elsewhere to growing income inequalities and environmental and health crises, to civil forfeitures and declining liberties.
Here are just two more illustrations, taken from the dissident literature of late August 2017:
1. Ryan Grim asks: “How do you kill terrorists if there aren’t any?”
“Simple: Afghans that the U.S. worked with understood the predicament their military sponsors were in, so they fabricated bad guys. Demand has a way of creating supply, and the U.S. was paying for information that led to the death or capture of Taliban fighters. Suddenly there were Taliban everywhere. Score-settling ran amok; all you had to do to get your neighbor killed or sent to Guantánamo was tell the U.S. they were members of the Taliban.”
2. Dr. Robert Rennebohm:
“And, maybe, too, the North Korean people are appropriately fearful that the USA intends to ruthlessly annihilate them, as they tried to do during the Korean War years of 1950-53. Maybe the North Koreans fear that American-directed fascists, like those on Cheju Island, will serially rape their women, then blow them up with grenades in their vaginas. After all, the USA has committed such heinous crimes many times before. And now an ignorant racist American Commander-in-Chief, like the ignorant, racist American Commander-in-Chief during the Korean War era, is threatening to attack North Korea “with fire and fury like the world has never seen before. Maybe North Korea believes that possession, or at least the threat of possible possession, of a nuclear deterrent is the only way to protect themselves from a ruthlessness that the USA has exhibited many times over, not only before and during the Korean War, but in dozens of countries since.”
Multiply such crimes by millions, listen to this brief lecture by a former insider, and you’ll get the picture. The Controllers’ love of democracy, freedom, and human rights is nothing more than a cynical, sickening, smokescreen. To advance their cause, and to satiate their perverted version of the pursuit of happiness, they will unflinchingly enslave and kill billions.
This being the case, couldn’t such people, if they felt that Russian sovereignty posed a threat to their long-term goals of enslaving humanity, or if they subscribed to the view that Russians (or the vast majority of human beings) are sub-human, engage in the relatively minor crime of serially killing, on average, one Russian official every 48 days?
Western rulers have been cheating, exploiting, and murdering Russians by the millions for centuries. Russians have had to put up with Napoleon, Western-sponsored civil war, Hitler’s genocide, Western betrayals before, during, and after World War II and the Cold War, NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders despite solemn promises to the contrary, the abrogation of nuclear treaties, Rothschild’s home-grown criminal oligarchs from the 1990s to the present, and pseudo-intellectuals like Jeffrey Sachs. These sponsored oligarchs and ideologues, according to Sergey Glazyev, caused the 1990s genocide:
“The rate of annual population loss has been more than double the rate of loss during the period of Stalinist repression and mass famine in the first half of the 1930s… There has been nothing like this in the thousand-year history of Russia.”
And now Russians are subject to a vicious hybrid war, the ongoing military and nuclear encirclement of their country, racial slurs, baseless accusations, ceaseless Western quest of a nuclear first strike option against them, currency and oil wars, a vicious no-holds-barred campaign of lies and propaganda, regime change attempts, Western support of a fascist regime in their sister republic of Ukraine, sanctions as a prelude to real war, the ceaseless pounding of fellow Russians in Malorossia and Novorossia, the reductions to second class status of their compatriots living in countries that once were part of the USSR, and humiliations.
There is likewise no shortage of contemporary illustrations of such provocations.
We shall encounter below one example involving Saudi/Deep State’s threats to unleash their Wahhabi terrorists on Russian soil.
Here is another chilling affront that might have led to an all-out war:
“Hours after the Russia-bound Metrojet flight 9268 A321 with Russian vacationers exploded in the sky over Sinai on October 31st, 2015, President Putin had not come on TV to address the people of Russia. Many immediately questioned why. Many observers had also noticed that before this act of terror and hours after it there was a coordinated influx of messages on social media declaring that Russian planes would be dropping down from the skies everywhere until, mind you, Russians surrender to some mysterious forces. . .
“Immediately after, far away in the US, Obama was whisked away from Washington on his helicopter and the US “Doomsday plane” took off and started circling around. Russia’s nuclear forces took aim at major US targets. Apparently, some exchange of words took place between the Russians and Washingtonians.
“When President Putin was finally seen on the news many people commented that he looked like he was ‘just taken off a cross.’
“Whatever gleeful reaction was expressed by some Europeans and Americans on the account of the death of many Russian passengers, they apparently didn’t realize that these could be their last days on earth.”
I don’t know if the Deep State was behind the shooting down of this civilian jet and the cold-blooded murder of its 224 passengers and crew. But there is absolutely no question about a long-standing, one-sided, pattern of extreme Deep State provocations.
Couldn’t the deaths of 14 Russian officials be just one more example of this indisputable pattern of provocations?
Deep State=Murder Inc.
A recent interview points out:
“One of the greatest paradoxes of our age is that countries like the USA and UK are, to a very limited extent, democracies. And yet, just about every political decision taken by these countries in the last 37 years, at the very least, has increased the powers of the Invisible Government while eroding the health, wealth, liberty, and happiness of the vast majority.
“How have they gotten away with recklessly risking the physical and biological foundations of life itself? Why in heaven’s name has the vast majority served as cheerleaders for their own impoverishment? The answer to such questions is that the American edifice of exploitation, parasitism, enslavement, perpetual warfare, and ecocide rests on massive, mutually-supporting pillars.”
That interview provides, once more, conclusive evidence for what numerous assassination scholars of particular cases have been saying for centuries: One of the pillars that sustains and enhances the power of the Deep State (=Invisible Government) involves clock-and-dagger: smears, incarcerations, and assassinations.
In turn, The Encyclopedia of Domestic Assassination touches upon some of the statistical evidence for this claim.
“Looking at each case in isolation, one might conclude: ‘Having reviewed the evidence, I’d say that there is, say, a 90% chance that the government murdered this particular individual.’ For instance, in the list below, I’d guess that there is only a 5% chance that the government murdered musician Bobby Darin who had a weak heart even as a child), a 98% chance for Martin Luther King (after listening to 70 witnesses, a jury concluded that the government had a hand in his assassination), and a 99.9% chance for Fred Hampton (who was admittedly murdered by the government). While this encyclopedia can only provide probability estimates in any given case, it does prove the existence of a pattern: If you are influential and meaningfully defy the Invisible Government, it kills you. The evidence here is statistical in nature. If you take random samples of 100 smokers and 100 nonsmokers, and if you see that the lifespan of smokers is significantly shorter, you can conclude that smoking kills. In the same way, if you take 100 influential challengers of the Invisible Government and 100 bystanders, and if you see an even greater longevity gap between them, you can conclude that the Invisible Government kills.
“In fact, it is hard to locate influential challengers to the Invisible Government who made it to old age. And, of the few who did, some were reduced to penury, smeared, or spent time in prison. In the USA, at this moment, I can only think of 7 such possible survivors, in over a century of assassinations.
“The upshot of all this is simple: Whenever an influential challenger of the Invisible Government dies, the prime suspect is the Invisible Government. Whenever she is fired, incarcerated, or smeared, the probable reason is not the officially-stated one, but the threat she posed to the powers that be.”
Moreover, although the extent of domestic assassinations—despite the conclusive evidence—is still under debate, the assassination of foreigners is taken for granted, even by the likes of James R. Clapper.
“We know for a fact that the CIA and its allies routinely murder non-compliant foreigners. For instance, few researchers dispute the culpability of Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon in the assassination of the democratically-elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende. There is likewise no dispute that the American government attempted to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro and North Korean president Kim Jung-un. We know that the bankers and their allies (the Invisible Government or the Deep State) played a role in the killing of Che Guevara, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Gaddafi. We know they imprisoned a Panamanian head of state after invading his country and killing hundreds of innocents.”
Given such indisputable realities, is it really too much to suppose that the CIA and its allies are now assassinating Russian officials?
Open Threats of Violence
Four examples should suffice.
1. In the summer of 2013 Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar, after coordinating plans with the Deep State, attempted to convince Russia to let go of its Syrian ally:
“Bandar suggested that Putin’s agreement to abandon the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad would lead Saudi Arabia to restrain its Chechen terrorist clients who have been attacking Russia targets for years. Putin reportedly grew furious, interpreting Bandar’s offer as a warning that the Sochi games would be threatened by terrorism if Putin didn’t comply. . . . Putin warned Saudi Arabia of potentially severe consequences suggesting military retaliation if Bandar’s implied warning was followed up by actual terrorist attacks like the ones in Volvograd on Monday, killing more than 30 people. . . . Putin viewed Bandar’s offer to protect the Sochi Olympics as something akin to a Mafia don shaking down a shopkeeper for protection money. . . . Putin then redoubled his support for the Syrian government in response to Bandar’s blend of bribes and warnings. The source said Russia also issued its own thinly veiled threats against the Saudis. The Saudis may have substantial “soft power” with their oil and money but Russia has its own formidable ‘hard power,’ including a huge military.”
2. Not to be outdone, a former CIA director openly suggested that Russians and Iranians should be killed covertly in Syria. It mattered not to this mercenary hit man that Russians and Iranians are in Syria at the invitation of a democratically-elected government of that country, in an effort to safeguard their legitimate interests and to save Syria from Wahhabi hordes.
3. A former CIA functionary publicly issued a veiled death threat against the popular leader (83% approval rating at this writing) of a nuclearly-armed country:
“Thugs like Putin . . . keep going until someone takes them out — permanently — with a knockout punch. . . . If the only way to get him out of the Kremlin is feet-first, with a bullet hole in the back of his head — that would also be okay with us. Nor would we object . . . if . . . his airplane gets blasted out of the sky by some murky para-military group that somehow, inexplicably, got its hands on a surface-to-air missile.”
4. And then there is of course our old friend James Clapper—assassin-in-chief, inveterate liar, proven perjurer, a Russophobe, and a maestro of doublespeak—who subscribes to the racial theory that Russians suffer from a biological predilection for untrustworthiness.
Clapper openly says so, but there is no doubt that feeling is shared among other mid-level functionaries of the Deep State. It is an old trick, of course. To make decent human beings overcome their aversion to murder, you sub-humanize your intended victims, e.g., Irish, Mexicans, Muslims, Germans, Native Americans.
Such views and threats, history shows, capture the mindset of the Controllers of the Deep State—the people who actually run the contemporary Anglo-Saxon empire.
Isn’t it reasonable to assume that such people would conduct an assassination campaign, if by doing so they could squash a few sub-human specimens of humanity, satisfy their blood and gold lusts, and advance their goal of enslaving humanity?
Dr. Moti Nissani is a jack of most academic trades and professor emeritus, Wayne State University. He is the author of Encyclopedia of Domestic Assassinations: The US/UK Smear, Harass, Blackmail, Bribe, Incarcerate, or Murder all Influential Dissidents (an Aug. 2022 public domain book), Lives in the Balance: The Cold War and American Politics, 1945-1991 (a 1992 public domain book), and many peer reviewed academic articles in a variety of disciplines.,