Vitaly Churkin, who served as Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations since 2006, “died suddenly” in New York on Monday, February 20th, one day before his 65th birthday.
Churkin’s death triggered a lot of controversial reports.
Child movie star, Vitaly Churkin graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1974, and then began working for the Institute and received a PhD in History from the USSR Diplomatic Academy in 1981. Subsequently, he was Director of the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. He also served as a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, and he was Deputy Foreign Minister from 1992 to 1994.
Churkin was among those Russian politicians who tried after the fall of communism to create new peaceful and friendly relationships with the West. With years passed though, as Putin’s political position was changing, Churkin’s position was also becoming consistently anti-Western. Nevertheless foreign colleagues respected him. One of the Russian commentators of the diplomat’s death noted that Vitaly Churkin was hated by the West and loved by those that valued honor. Here is how his former colleague Samantha Power reacted to Churkin’s death: “Devastated by passing of Russian UN Amb Vitaly Churkin. Diplomatic maestro & deeply caring man who did all he could to bridge US-RUS differences.”
According to Russian and world media Russian President Vladimir Putin was deeply upset to learn of the death of Vitaly Churkin. Russian news agencies cited Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying:
“The head of state highly valued Churkin’s professionalism and diplomatic talent.”
The body of the diplomat was promptly moved from New York to Moscow and immediately buried with official honors.
According to official Russian reports Vitaly Churkin was at the Russian embassy on East 67th Street when he became sick with a “cardiac condition” around 9:30 AM and was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where he died the same day from heart attack.
Some Russian journalists comment that normally Russian diplomats are supposed to be treated by an embassy doctor and not taken to American hospitals. While in the embassy a diplomat is under the Russian jurisdiction and a cause of his possible death would stay unknown to outside world. If a Russian diplomat dies in an American hospital, embassy cannot prevent an autopsy made by American doctors.
Many American sources reported that a preliminary autopsy report done by the medical experts in the hospital revealed that Vitaly Churkin had poison in his kidneys.
Russian websites quoted the leaked medical report: “Legal examination determined the time of death, presumably on Monday morning, approximately ten hours after he ingested of the suspected meal.”
There still no definitive diagnosis based on the results of the American forensic examination.
Russian website Pravda.Ru asked the American medical examiner, PhD Eduardo Tumanov for comment: “Why is there still no definitive diagnosis based on the results of the American forensic examination?“
Tumanov answered: “American forensic experts in this type of case cannot hurry with the wording of a final diagnosis while waiting for results to be ready with methods of further examination: histology, forensic toxicology and others. Forensic histological examination (wiring, fixing, shading, coloring material) takes about a week, because there are certain dates for the material due to the technological features of the manufacture of histological preparations. In addition, judicial toxicology study also takes time, which are toxicological studies in judicial medical research – a standard procedure.”
A week passed since then, but there are no new publications about the results of the tests. It is unknown, if these results will ever be published.
Meanwhile Internet is full of different comments concerning Churkin’s death.
Most of commentators pay special attention to the fact that for the last three months Churkin became the sixth Russian diplomat, suddenly deceased. It gives to one a good reason to assume that all these deaths might not be accidental, especially given the aggressive and warlike policy of the Russian authorities.
On December 19, 2016, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was shot at the opening of the photo exhibition “Russia in the eyes of a traveler”.
On the next day, December 20, the head of the Latin American Department of the Foreign Ministry of Russia Peter Polshikov was found dead in Moscow with gunshot wound to his head.
On December 26, this death was followed by the mysterious death of 61-year-old head of Rosneft, Oleg Brevanchin, who was in possession of a lot of classified information. Several years ago Brevanchin headed the Secretariat of Igor Sechin, then Deputy Prime Minister, biggest Russian oil magnate and a family friend of Putin.
On the same day, the body of another Russian diplomat Roman Skrylnikov was found in Kazakhstan. It was reported that he died from a heart attack.
On January 7, 2017, 55-year-old Russian diplomat Andrei Malanin, who served as Russian Consul in Greece, was found dead in his apartment in Athens.
On January 26, Ambassador of Russia in India, 67-years-old Alexander Kadakin unexpectedly died in New Delhi.
Of course, some of the deaths of the Russian diplomats could be caused by the natural reasons. However, in light of the political events of the last three years so dense occurrence of diplomatic deaths is thought provoking.
Commentators offer a wide range of possible reasons behind the deaths.
Most of ordinary Russians believe that the entire world hate Russians and is ready to start anti-Russian war, so it is natural, that the enemies kill Russian representatives.
Some believe that Putin is behind of eliminating of those, who turned out to be his secret enemies.
One of the theories suggests that somebody kills those, who can spill information about relationship between Donald Tramp and Russians.
I found on YouTube a monolog of a Russian woman who proclaims that the killing of Churkin was the revenge of the American democrats to Putin for making Donald Trump American president. This video was watched by 403,500 viewers by now.
I find very interesting that this particular monolog is in Russian. My feeling is that such comments are spread by Putin’s agents in order to make more Russians believe that Putin is omnipotent and can influence citizens of mighty America vote for a president of his choice.