'Tragic Accident' Near Russian Embassy in Berlin Raises Eyebrows

Body of 35-year-old was found last month. Was he a diplomat or a spy?
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2021 2:13 PM CDT
Diplomat's Body Found Near Russian Embassy in Berlin
The Russian Embassy in Berlin is seen on March 27, 2018.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Last month, a man's body was discovered on the pavement outside the Russian Embassy in Berlin. Now, more news on who the man was, though details are still murky. Der Spiegel reports that the deceased was a Russian diplomat, and that he'd apparently fallen from an upper floor. His body was found in the early morning hours of Oct. 19 by police guarding the compound; efforts to revive him were in vain.

The man's name has not yet been offered, but reports say he was 35 and the second embassy secretary since 2019. The Russian Embassy has called his death a "tragic accident" but wouldn't allow an autopsy to be performed, with security sources deeming the cause of death as "unknown." The embassy says it kept things quiet on the death for "ethical reasons." A police probe was also not permitted due to diplomatic immunity. The body has reportedly been sent back to Russia.

A spokesperson for Germany's Foreign Ministry tells CNN that "reasons of personal protection of the persons concerned and their relatives" means nothing further can be said. The embassy's reticence may or may not have something to do with the fact that the investigative website Bellingcat says it has tied the man to the Russian FSB intelligence agency, per the BBC—meaning he was possibly a spy. He's also said to be the son of a high-ranking FSB official. FSB operatives are said to be tied to the 2020 poisoning of Russian dissident Alexei Novalny. (More Russian spies stories.)

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