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!
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • 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.