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

(page 2 of 3)

Friends said his defeat in a multi-billion pound legal fight against Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich in London last year had eaten away at his fortune and led to a spiral of depression.

“He had no money, he had lost it all,” Tim Bell, one of his closest British advisors, told the Sunday Times newspaper. “He was unbelievably depressed.”

The Russian edition of Forbes magazine quoted Berezovsky as saying less than 24 hours before he was found dead that he had lost sight of the “point of life”.

“I do not know what to do. I am 67 years old. And I do not know what to do next,” it quoted him as saying in an interview in the Four Seasons restaurant, which it said it conducted off the record but was publishing anyway because of his death.

“I’ve … lost the point,” Berezovsky said.

“Of life?” asked the interviewer.

“The point of life,” Berezovsky agreed.

Berezovsky was born in Moscow on January 23, 1946. After graduating from the Moscow Institute of Timber Technology in 1967, he earned an advanced degree in physics and mathematics and membership in the prestigious Academy of Sciences.

A fierce opponent of communism, Berezovsky made his name selling cars and rose in the 1990s to control a vast financial empire based around the LogoVAZ industrial giant, which had its roots in the auto sales business.

As a friend of President Boris Yeltsin’s family, a financier of his 1996 re-election campaign and a board member of a main TV network, he helped Yeltsin overcome ill-health and a Communist challenge to win a new term.

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov later compared Berezovsky to Rasputin, the wild-eyed monk and mystic who wielded influence over the family of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II.

Rewarded with a seat on Yeltsin’s national Security Council, he helped implement the peace deal that ended Russia’s first war with rebels in the Chechnya region and was a go-between in talks to free hostages there.

Many - not least Berezovsky - say he played a key role in plucking Putin out of obscurity and engineering Yeltsin’s appointment of the former KGB officer as acting president when he stepped down abruptly on the last day of 1999.

“He presented (Putin) to the Russian establishment of that time, brought him into Boris Yeltsin’s close circle, and he was the first to believe that out of this indistinct bureaucrat, a successor could be made,” commentator Sergei Parkhomenko said.


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!
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • What do a Southern staple like okra and an Israeli favorite like tahini have in common? New Orleans chef Alon Shaya brings sabra tastes to the Big Easy.
  • 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.