Fallen Jewish Oligarch Boris Berezovsky Found Dead, Amid Depression and Mystery

Unconfirmed Reports Say Rasputin of Putin Era Killed Self

Fallen Oligarch: Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky was found dead in London. Police said the death was ‘unexplained.’
getty images
Fallen Oligarch: Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky was found dead in London. Police said the death was ‘unexplained.’

By Reuters

Published March 23, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

From car salesman to Kremlin king-maker to billionaire political exile, Boris Berezovsky seemed to play a role in nearly every crucial scene in the roller coaster drama of post-Soviet Russia.

A mathematician by training, Berezovsky’s expertise at political calculus gave him power beyond his position in a career that made him many enemies - the most prominent of them Vladimir Putin, the man he helped bring to power.

The cause of his death was unclear and some reports said it was a suspected suicide, The Guardian reported. His mansion was only cleared for authorities after a sweep was made for chemical or radioactive materials suggesting it might have been deliberately contaminated.

In a country with a rich history of court intrigue and a reputation for opacity in the Kremlin from tsarist, his manoeuvring earned him comparison to Russia’s ultimate behind-the-scenes operator, the “mad monk” Grigory Rasputin.

Credited with a part in saving Boris Yeltsin’s political skin and shaping Putin into presidential material with the help of money and media, he was then blamed - formally or not - for dark episodes that followed his falling out with the Kremlin.

Berezovsky traded unofficial accusations with Russian authorities over killings such as the polonium poisoning death of Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, and survived assassination attempts himself.

In 1994, Berezovsky’s car was blown up and his driver killed - reportedly decapitated. In 2007, he said British police had warned him of a plot to kill him.

His death at age 67 may only begin the latest mystery. British police said it was “unexplained.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.