A coroner in England has ruled that Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky died by hanging, and despite the temptation to assume otherwise, there were no signs of foul play. The 67-year-old Russian exile was found dead at a British estate over the weekend, and given his vocal opposition to Vladimir Putin's government—and the tendency for "bad things" to happen to such men—there have naturally been suspicions about his death. However, the pathologist working for the British Home Office says his "consistent with hanging" and there's no other sign of violence or "third-party involvement."
Berezovsky had other problems besides Putin, however. One of several businessmen to amass a giant fortune during the post-Soviet era of massive privatization of state assets, Berezovsky had reportedly blown through most of his billion-dollar empire in the last decade, leaving some of it behind in Russia and spending the rest on numerous legal battles and an outsized lifestyle. His exile in England had drained his bank accounts and, reportedly, his spirit. Several friends have told the media that he had been depressed and Berezovsky himself seemed to signal the end was near in this quote from his final interview, given to the Russian edition of Forbes just one day before his death:
"There is no point [or meaning] in my life. I don’t want to be involved in politics. I don’t know what to do. I’m 67 years old. And I don’t know what I should do from now on."
A drug test will still be conducted to rule all possibilities before a final report on Berezovsky's death is made, but even a clean result won't stop some from assuming that more sinister forces are at work. Either way you look at it, the lives of many of old Russia's most powerful figures don't always end the way they'd hoped.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.