The sudden death of Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Ambassador to the UN since 2006, left many shocked, saddened and puzzled. He appeared to be in good health for his age and displayed the energy of a man half his age.
This led me to question a strange series of deaths of prominent Russian diplomats and advisers who had died in unclear or unnatural circumstances dating back to 2015.
Before going on I should say this: Some criticised my previous piece as being insensitive to the deceased. This was in no way the intention and I do not believe it to be the aggregate effect either.
Vitaly Churkin’s speeches were part of my daily life. I admired the man, I respected the man, I wept at the news of his death. As a human being I ask God for forgiveness should my words have offended anyone close to him or the other honourable people I mentioned.
But as a journalist, as an inquisitive mind, as someone concerned for the wellbeing of Russia’s best and brightest, I cannot help but ‘question more’.
The strange pattern of unexpected and largely unexplained deaths I catalogued in my previous piece takes on an even more mysterious character when examined in the following way.
Since the 8th of November, when Donald Trump was elected, no fewer than seven Russian officials of prominence have died.
Here’s who they are:
(1) 8 November: Sergei Krivov – Russian diplomat found dead in New York. The cause of his yet is not yet known.
(2) 19 December: Petr Polshikov – high-ranking diplomat shot dead in Moscow flat, just hours before the more dramatic killing of Russia’s Turkish Ambassador Andrey Karlov.
(3) 19 December: Andrey Karlov – Russian Ambassador to Turkey who helped restore Russo-Turkish relations assassinated by an un-uniformed Turkish policeman proclaiming loyalty to the terrorists who had been operating in Aleppo prior to its joint liberation.
(4) 26 December: Oleg Erovinkin – former KGB officer found dead in the back of his car. Western media alleged that Mr. Erovinkin was responsible for passing the strange and incredible so-called ‘Trump Dossier’ either directly to, or to a colleague of former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.
(5) 9 January: Andrey Malanin – a Senior Russian Diplomat to Greece was found dead in his bathroom. The causes of death remain unknown.
(6) 26 January: Alexander Kadakin – Russia’s Ambassador to India, an always prestigious role, died of a heart attack, although no one was aware of any previous health issues.
(7) Feb 20: Vitaly Churkin – Russia’s Ambassador to the UN collapses in New York. The cause of death remains a heart attack.
Even if US and general western-Russian relations were calm and normal, this strange pattern would still raise eyebrows. The fact that relations are at their lowest since the Cold War makes it deeply important to question what is actually going on.
Not a day goes by without Russia being talking about, almost always negatively in the western media and in western halls of government.
The Democratic Party, members of the Republican party (McCain/Graham), mainstream media and figures in the US deep state, including the intelligence community, are attempting time and again to use any Trump administration connection with Russia to discredit the President.
Furthermore, far from being people of little significance, each of the diseased has played a role in shaping the multi-polar world order in which Russia is taking the lead. The US meanwhile has fallen behind, first because of the undiplomatic nature of Obama style diplomacy, and now because of the political civil war transpiring in Washington D.C.
Is someone trying to provoke Russia?
Is someone trying to weaken Russia by killing off some of its most important officials?
Is someone trying to send a message to Donald Trump that Russian connections (which he manifestly does not have) are dangerous?
Thus far, the Russian government has not indulged in theories or enquiries relating to allegations of foul play. Russian opposition leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has suggested term limits for diplomats to preserve them from the stress of the job, but the typically flamboyant politician has gone no further.
The combination of violent, unnatural deaths and largely unexplained seemingly solitary deaths, is highly disconcerting.
The motives for foul play of one kind or another in each case exist, and the first element of solving a would be related series crimes is determining if there is a related motive. The evidence is yet to emerge, which makes it all the more important for professionals to investigate each situation.
In the light of recent events, it is far from unethical to ignore this pattern of deaths. It is a matter of recognising a series of dots which are already connected.
What is unethical in any situation, but especially in times such as these, is for CNN to accuse Russia’s Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak of being a spy. Kislyak is a veteran diplomat and on a personal level is well liked in Washington.
To suggest he is engaged in espionage or other dirty deeds, as the mainstream media have already done, could possibly put his life in danger. It has already put his credibility in question, but fortunately, only among those who disagree with President Trump’s assertion that CNN is ‘very fake news’.
With the world fixated on whether Donald Trump was wiretapped and if so under whose order, an equally compelling and vastly more eerie trend is going largely unreported.
If this trend continues, and if those with influence continue to ignore it, one can be assured that things are not business as usual.