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!
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • 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.