Russian investigative journalist who wrote about Russian mercenaries in Syria dies from fall

Russian investigative journalist Maxim Borodin died in a hospital after falling from his fifth floor apartment in Yekaterinburg on Friday. Recently Borodin had been writing about the Syria-based activities of a Russian mercenary organization called the "Wagner Group." Officials say there is no sign of foul play, but one of Borodin's friends, Vyacheslav Bashkov, said that security personnel had surrounded his apartment the day before he fell.

From BBC:

Journalists in Russia have often been harassed or attacked in recent years for their work. On the same day that Maxim Borodin was found fatally injured, the editor of an official regional newspaper was assaulted in Yekaterinburg, reports say.

Much of Russia's media is controlled by the state and Russia is ranked 83rd out of 100 countries for press freedom by Freedom House.

One of Russia's best-known investigative reporters, Anna Politkovskaya, was shot dead in a lift at her block of flats in 2006. Politkovskaya exposed Russian human rights abuses in Chechnya.

Anna Politkovskaya's reports were highly critical of President Vladimir Putin
Two years later, journalist Mikhail Beketov was left brain-damaged. He had highlighted corruption and fought against the planned destruction of the Khimki forest near Moscow to make way for a road. He died in 2013.

Oleg Kashin, was severely injured in an assault in Moscow in 2010. He had been reporting on protests against the Khimki forest highway.

Last year, well-known Russian radio presenter Tatyana Felgengauer was stabbed in the neck while at work at her radio station, Ekho Mosvky.

The Wagner Group was founded by a high ranking member of Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate, and has been compared to the US security firm formerly known as Blackwater (which changed its name to Xe Services in 2009, and is now called Academi).

Image: Maxim Borodin/Facebook