Earlier in the year, a number of non-mainstream media outlets noted the fact that an unusual number of high-ranking Russian diplomats were turning up dead. Mainstream media shunned the narrative as 'conspiracy' or 'fake news', which makes the fact that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper pointing out to CNN that there is a "curious pattern" of deaths even more intriguing.
As we noted previously, seven Russian diplomats have died in the last 3 months - all but one died on foreign soil. Some were shot, while other causes of death are unknown. Note that a few deaths have been labeled "heart attacks" or "brief illnesses."
1. You probably remember Russia's Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov — he was assassinated by a police officer at a photo exhibit in Ankara on December 19.
2. On the same day, another diplomat, Peter Polshikov, was shot dead in his Moscow apartment. The gun was found under the bathroom sink but the circumstances of the death were under investigation. Polshikov served as a senior figure in the Latin American department of the Foreign Ministry.
3. Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died in New York this past week. Churkin was rushed to the hospital from his office at Russia's UN mission. Initial reports said he suffered a heart attack, and the medical examiner is investigating the death, according to CBS.
4. Russia's Ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, died after a "brief illness January 27, which The Hindu said he had been suffering from for a few weeks.
5. Russian Consul in Athens, Greece, Andrei Malanin, was found dead in his apartment January 9. A Greek police official said there was "no evidence of a break-in." But Malanin lived on a heavily guarded street. The cause of death needed further investigation, per an AFP report. Malanin served during a time of easing relations between Greece and Russia when Greece was increasingly critiqued by the EU and NATO.
6. Ex-KGB chief Oleg Erovinkin, who was suspected of helping draft the Trump dossier, was found dead in the back of his car December 26, according to The Telegraph. Erovinkin also was an aide to former deputy prime minister Igor Sechin, who now heads up state-owned Rosneft.
7. The top official of Russia's space agency, 56-year-old Vladimir Evdokimov, was found dead in his 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.
If we go back further than 3 months...
8. On the morning of U.S. Election Day, Russian diplomat Sergei Krivov was found unconscious at the Russian Consulate in New York and died on the scene. Initial reports said Krivov fell from the roof and had blunt force injuries, but Russian officials said he died from a heart attack. BuzzFeed reports Krivov may have been a Consular Duty Commander, which would have put him in charge of preventing sabotage or espionage.
9. In November 2015, a senior adviser to Putin, Mikhail Lesin, who was also the founder of the media company RT, was found dead in a Washington hotel room according to the NYT. The Russian media said it was a "heart attack," but the medical examiner said it was "blunt force injuries."
10. If you go back a few months prior in September 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s driver was killed too in a freak car accident while driving the Russian President’s official black BMW to add to the insanity.
If you include these three additional deaths that’s a total of ten Russian officials that have died over the past 2 years.
Many have questioned whether this rash of deaths was being undertaken by the deep state in retaliation for Putin's defiance... former acting director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Michael Morell openly conspired to “covertly” kill Russians and Iranians in Syria in an August 2016 interview with Charlie Rose. While Morell was talking about killing Russian and Iranian soldiers it is definitely a strange piece to add to this puzzle.
Are we witnessing a battle between the deep state and Russia in a spy versus spy plotline or is this all just a freak coincidence?
Well, as The Hill reports, James Clapper, speaking to host Jake Tapper Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union", is here to set things straight...
"Well, this obviously has been a curious pattern."
"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."
Aha... So that's the narrative - back to the "Putin is a killer" meme.
Clapper said it is an “interesting pattern. I will put it that way."
The wife of one of Putin’s most prominent critics, activist and journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza, said her husband had been poisoned again, after experiencing kidney failure and being put in a medically induced coma in February. She reportedly said the doctors diagnosed him with an “acute poisoning by an unidentified substance."
President Trump, during an interview in early February with then-Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly, defended Putin and objected to him being called "a killer."
“We have a lot of killers,” Trump said at the time. “You think our country is so innocent?”
Of course, Clapper was not done, he had plenty more to say on Trump...
"I think in many ways our institutions are under assault both externally -- and that's the big news here is the Russian interference in our election system -- and I think as well our institutions are under assault internally,"
"The founding fathers, in their genius, created a system of three co-equal branches of government and a built-in system of checks and balances," Clapper said. "I feel as though that is under assault and is eroding."
Presumably Clapper was upset at being the man Trump pointed to as clarifying the lack of evidence of a Trump-Russia collusion?