Berezovsky RIP


I will either return to the Kremlin on a white horse, or in a black limousine to the Mausoleum.

It is customary to say something nice about the recently deceased, so here goes… *ahem.* If not for Berezovsky, Putin probably wouldn’t be President.

UPDATE: As expected, the conspiracy theories have inevitably began to crawl out of the Internet’s woodwork. As one of my Facebook friends put it, my own radical conspiracy theory is that Berezovsky was rather old, depressed, and out of shape.

The “depressed” part, in particular, is backed up by this account of Berezovsky’s last interview at Russian Forbes, which is full of regrets about his life choices. This also supports Putin’s PR spokesman Peskov’s claim that Berezovsky had written to Putin to ask forgiveness and allow him to return to Russia without facing charges. My guess is that Putin simply didn’t answer him. Certainly no other response could have disturbed a man as narcissistic and beset by delusions of grandeur as Berezovsky the more.

UPDATE 3/25: Richard Behar: Did Boris Berezovsky Kill Himself? More Compelling, Did He Kill Forbes Editor Paul Klebnikov.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. PvMikhail says

    This made my day… thanks.

    Berezovsky! RIP – Rot In Purgatory!

  2. So much has been said and written about Berezovsky that for me to say anything more would be superfluous. The one thing however I am going to say is that he was a most peculiar man. I don’t think there has been in recent history someone quite so adept at spinning fantasies and successfully passing them off as facts. He could only have done it to the extent that he did by (if only to some extent) living inside them. Of course he was only able to pass off his fantasies so successfully because so many were receptive to them. Having said that, though there was clearly something of the genius about him I think at the end of the day he was more than a little mad. A minor and altogether less sinister Russian oligarch who knew Berezovsky and who got close to an English friend of mine told her the same thing.

    The question now is does his death change anything? I think for all practical purposes the answer is no. He had become an exhausted figure some time ago and his losing the case against Abramovitch was the coup de grace. I don’t think he has had any effective influence or power for some time. It seems to me that the effect of his death is limited to the following

    1. Here in England we can now speak about him freely and discuss the fantasies he invented and go over them properly without the constant threat of a libel action. For example it is now finally possible to say openly that the allegation that the FSB planned to kill Berezovsky in 1998 was a straightforward lie and that he also fabricated the story that Putin and the FSB were behind the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings. It is also possible to say that in his last interview Litvinenko not only claimed to having worked as a hitman and as a recruiter and organiser of hitmen but that given his connections to Berezovsky in the 1990s this work (if it happened) must have been done on Berezovsky’s behalf. Lastly it might finally become possible to discuss openly Berezovsky’s relationship with the British and Israeli authorities and their respective intelligence agencies;

    2. From the opposite angle, Putin and the Russian government no longer have Berezovsky to blame when things go wrong. I am not saying they ever did to any insincere degree, but if someone like Politkovskaya is killed in future it can no longer be blamed on him.

    The one other respect in which Berezovsky’s death may change things is in the future conduct of the Litvinenko inquest. For some entirely unexplained reason he was involved in the inquest as an interested party even though the British authorities insisted that he was not a suspect. William Dunkerley has argued that Berezovsky was the prime mover behind most of the allegations against Russia made over the course of the Litvinenko affair. If that is true then with him gone one wonders what life remains in this story.

    • I don’t think he has had any effective influence or power for some time.

      At least according to Putin, Berezovsky’s influence has always been rather inflated. From an interview in early 2000:

      – Кстати, о фаворитах. Борис Березовский сказал в одном из интервью, что встречается с вами раз в месяц. Это так? / “About favorites… Boris Berezovsky said in one of his interviews that he meets with you once a month.”
      – Наверное, реже. / “Probably not as frequently as that.”
      – По чьей инициативе? / “On who’s initiative?”
      – По его. У него такой живой ум и много предложений. Все они связаны главным образом с Кавказом – Чечней, Карачаево-Черкесией. Он же был все-таки замсекретаря Совета Безопасности, занимался этим. Кстати, на мой взгляд, его предложения по Чечне были нереальны и неэффективны, поэтому, собственно говоря, ничего из того, что он предлагал, не осуществляется. Но я время от времени встречаюсь не только с Березовским, но и с другими бизнесменами, например Авеном, Потаниным, Алекперовым… / “On his initiative. He has a good intellect and many suggestions. They are all mainly connected to the Caucasus – Chechnya, Karachaevo-Cherkessia. He was after all the Deputy Secretary of the Security Council, and worked on this. By the way, IMO, his suggestions as regards Chechnya were unrealistic and ineffective, so presumably this is why nothing of what he suggested is being realized. But from time to time I meet up with not only Berezovsky, but also other businessmen, like Aven, Potanin, Alekperov…”

      In other words, even in the 1990’s I suspect he was more of an influential courtier who’s fortunes rose and fell in relation to the shifting fortunes of various political forces as opposed to being some kind of “godfather of the Kremlin.” (A title that if anything just plays to his narcissism).

    • Berezovsky wasn’t the source of the ’99 apartment bombings story and the evidence to support FSB and Putins involvement far outstrips anything one individual could be held responsible for.

      • Khattab in July was threatening to launch attacks in Russian cities when he started assaults against Dagestan.

        US own 1998 declassified DIR report on Bin Ladin and his connection to the Caucasus highlights jihadists with training camps they established there intention was to launch terrorist attacks and cause general chaos to inspire an uprising against Russia on the back of an economic depression with one of the objects was to spread false rumours.

        Although never citied there have been trails and terrorists captured involved in the apartment bombings in 2002 and 2003 entering Georgia and Dagetsan with one defendant claiming the CIA was involved that might correlate with the 99 meeting the US held in Azerbaijan.

        Berezovsky we don’t think started the rumours (that’s the thing about rumours you don’t know how they start) but he is the one to actively promote and finance the Putin/KGB did it theory because you know it is not like they didn’t have any excuse to go in prior to the apartment bombings.

        Seeing how he is the biggest financier and inside man in Russia of financing Chechen terrorism he would likely be the one to know the most that unfortunately now with other info will go to the grave with him.

        “By 1999, the US had given up on reconciling Azerbaijan and Armenia in order to construct pipelines to Turkey, and instead Washington started focusing on building pipelines via Georgia.

        For such a project to be economically viable, the Russian pipelines would have to be shut down. Hence, in early October 1999, senior officials of US oil companies and US officials offered representatives of Russian “oligarchs” in Europe huge dividends from the proposed Baku-Ceyhan pipeline if the “oligarchs” convinced Moscow to withdraw from the Caucasus, permit the establishment of an Islamic state, and close down the Baku-Novorossiysk oil pipeline. Consequently, there would be no competition to the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. The “oligarchs” were convinced that the highest levels of the Clinton White House endorsed this initiative. The meeting failed because the Russians would hear nothing of the US proposal.”

        • Your first link;
          Your second link;
          Republican Riot. A tin foil hat black helicopter site. Didn’t read that.

          I don’t defend Berezovsky. He was a thief and worse but trying to deflect attention from events which have very real links to the FSB and by definition to Putin by using this deluded fool is misdirection at its worst.


            A lot of ‘tin foil hat, black helicopter’ stuff punching its way into the mainstream nowadays, as you no doubt may’ve heard if you were a regular reader of Forbes magazine which has called for a ‘national conversation’, for example, on the number of bullets the Department of Homeland Security has ordered. Although they claim only tens of millions, not billions of the 1.7 billion tallied up by the Associated Press in February have actually been delivered to all DHS agencies, even the ‘option’ to purchase enough ammo to fight a 20 year long Iraq War (if hollow points were not banned by the Geneva Conventions) or 80 years of training at the current pace suspiciously looks like back door gun control via ammo control at best. And a preparation for domestic hostilities/martial law at the worst.

            Even DHS claiming the bullet purchases are merely an ‘option’ and are not already on their way seems part and parcel of a deceptive strategy, whereby taking delivery of 3,000 MRAP vehicles once destined for Iraq or Afghanistan battlefields can instead be chalked up as an ‘insane conspiracy theory’ since the vehicles are said to be purchased by the Marines. The best way of course to hide something is often in plain site and it could be two concurrent orders or DHS could take custody of the military ‘surplus’ hardware at any time without necessarily painting them DHS black like the 16 MRAPs already documented.

            There is some historical precedent for this, (if you say to hell with Godwin’s law, or even pre-Godwin Germany) when looking at how the Weimar Republic evaded the Versailles Treaty by holding training exercises in the USSR during the 1920s. The Nazis of course did their aircraft training in the early 1930s as ‘civilian’ exercises, even though the gliders were practicing how to deliver materiel onto a battlefield.


            A quote from an old timer:

            “The armored personnel carriers were the last straw for me and put me on the side of this is not reasonable. I guess you could spend the day explaining away all the ammo, but it still doesn’t add up to me. Throw in the recent urban warfare games in Texas and Florida and put a tin foil hat on me. In better times, I would believe that what the government is doing is harmless, and there is no plot. But when you throw in all the issues of the times including the stonewalling on Fast and Furious and the missing witnesses of Benghazi [which Media Matters says is ‘standard’ when intelligence agencies are involved, nothing to see here folks move on from the silenced survivors – Equis], a president who said in 2008 that he wanted a civilian army as big and well funded as the US Army which would advance his agenda, then you can add, subtract, and divide the number of bullets per person all you want, but I don’t believe a word that comes out of the administration any longer.”


            Here’s the video of Obama’s otherwise ‘odd’ pronouncement at a campaign stop in 2008 that we needed a ‘civilian security force…just as powerful, just as strong, and just as well funded as our military’. No Obama supporter or anyone remotely connected with the Administration has ever sought to explain what the future President was alluding to here.

            However the sources of ‘The Ulsterman Report’ website came closest to explaining it when ‘White House Insider’ said Obama and Michelle needed to signal to ‘the investors’ — offshore globalists and their transnational union bagmen like Leo Gerard — that they were ‘serious’ about delivering what ‘they’ wanted.


            So you can either find a way to laugh all this off, or keep that ‘tin foil hat’ for yourself.

          • David Habakkuk says

            That something is not ‘finally evaluated intelligence’ does not provide grounds for failing to read it. Someone interested in the truth reads it in precisely the way that a competent intelligence analyst would. He or she attempts to assess the credibility of the claims, by asking what other evidence might refute or confirm them, and then looking to see whether it can be found.

            In fact, this is also the way that someone interested in getting at the truth evaluates claims from intelligence agencies that are represented as ‘finally evaluated intelligence’.

          • @TRex

            The intelligence review the one that we know of that has been declassified was info not verified because they didn’t/don’t want investigation into terrorist connections to Chechen terrorist groups you are actively supporting but we know there existed a terrorist when referenced in terrorism court cases in the US and other things like commanders and soldiers captured and killed in Chechnya and the neighbouring republics and 9/11 and other terrorist attacks that there existed an Afghanistan-Pakistan-Turkey-Azerbaijan training and trafficking route that was part of 9/11 trafficking network.

            But the main source of information and reference is Litvinenko’s book Blowing up Russia who was working for and being paid by Berezovsky since he left the FSB in 98 and was not even affiliated with branches involving anti-terrorism and state security.

            I will quote from the excellent article Alexander Mercouris posted on his blog on him losing his court case to Abramovich.

            I had occasion to research the Moscow apartment bombings seven years ago. I quickly concluded that neither Putin nor the FSB nor any other branch of the Russian government were involved and that the bombings were the work of jihadi terrorists just as the Russian authorities say they were.

            “More to the point it became obvious to me that even if Berezovsky was not the actual originator of the myth that the Russian authorities were behind the apartment bombings he was the person who was largely responsible for keeping the myth alive. Witness after witness of the supposed involvement of the Russian authorities in the bombings turned out either to have connections to Berezovsky or to people connected to Berezovsky who could be plausibly described as members of his network or organisation. Always and invariably the trail led back to Berezovsky. Even witnesses who initially seemed to be genuinely independent proved to have had been in contact with Berezovsky or his agents.

            I remember being impressed at the time by the amount of energy and resources Berezovsky had invested in the affair. The most detailed account of the Russian authorities’ supposed involvement in the bombings was a book co authored by Litvinenko who was at the time Berezovsky’s employee. The book was worthless as evidence as shown by the fact that around half the interviews in it were anonymous. It remains however the often unacknowledged source for many of the details that regularly appear in the western press about the affair.”

            The fact that corrupt assets where used within the Russian security to help acquire false documents, uniforms, etc. is no secret and was covered in the trials. The security and anti-terrorist forces of Belarus have been acting as mercenaries and couriers to traffic stockpiles of Soviet weaponry to militants in Chechnya fighting Russian forces.

            “Belarus, a former Soviet republic that ended up with a large stockpile of conventional Soviet weapons and is today one of the worlds top arms exporters, Moldovia, and the Ukraine have all shipped arms to Chechnya.

            On 11 January 2002, Janes Intelligence Digest reported that Victor Sheyman, the former head of the Belarusian Security Council, coordinated the arms shipments through former members of the Belarussian Almaz antiterrorist squad who had become merceneries in Chechnya. They served as intermediaries for the delivery of these weapons.”

            “Republican Riot. A tin foil hat black helicopter site. Didn’t read that.”

            How exactly is it a tin foil hat conspiracy theory website?

            She does not talk about the illuminati, global conspiracies, alien abduction, black helicopters, HAARP, etc or any of the other things you associate with conspiracy theory websites all she writes about is US/western support for jihadists in the Balkans that still continues and the largely now debunked propaganda campaign against the Serbs who were the exact same people that attacked the US on 9/11.

            Izebegovich’s right hand man Hasan Cengic who was operating out of Bin Ladin’s Sudan linked Third World Relief Agency front NGO out of Austria since the early 90’s and the outbreak of the Bosnian war coordinating weapons and fighters into Bosnia actually transferred money to Atta while he was in New York preparing the 9/11 attacks.

            Not that it matters anyway as she was quoting from a subscription based private intelligence publication Defense & Foreign Affairs of former anti-terrorism officers in the Mossad , CIA, etc. that have been studying terrorism in the Balkans at least since the 90’s.

    • So much has been said and written about Berezovsky that for me to say anything more would be superfluous.”

      I totally disagree we have not even scratched the surface in regards to Berezovsky as well as the other Oligarchs in there connections to British elite and there connections to the intelligence services, oil deals with western control of the Caspian oil basin and the financing of Chechen terrorism to deprive Russian access to Caspian oil, the billions of dollars he stole and looted in foreign bank accounts and tax havens, the Litvinenko affair, etc.

      It is no coincidence that most of the Oligarchs and most of prominent Islamic terrorists mostly connected to training and transiting Muslims to fight in the Balkans and the Caucasus have found a safe haven in England.

      When I heard last year he had financial difficulties and losing his court case against Abramovich I actually said that me might try a Robert Maxwell and threaten his MI6 backers for financial compensation otherwise he will tell his dark secrets and end up dead.

      Given Berezovskys character and the dire situation he found himself in and think he would be seen as too much of a dangerous liability for him to play his hand and spill some of the beans.

      With the “whole Putin did it” Litveninko affair which Berezovsky claimed he was part of an assassination attempt afterwards you would think he would be monitored round the clock by MI5.

      • David Habakkuk says


        On Litvinenko, you might be interested in some pieces which Mr David Loepp and I have posted on the European Tribune website. The three most recent, posted last December, are at

        These pick up on a series of pieces which I produced on the same site in 2008-9, and also a series which Mr Loepp produced – under his blogging name name ‘de Gondi’ – in the weeks following the breaking of the story of Litvinenko’s poisoning. The links to these are provided in the recent pieces.

        • Thanks!

          I will look at it all properly later but my assumption at the time was that he was contracted by Israeli intelligence or working on behalf of MI6 to procure Russia radioactive material to contaminate parts used in Iran’s nuclear program to falsely implicate they are cheating and secretly trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability and accidentally contaminating himself that would explain traces of Polonium 210 discovered before meeting Lugavoi but that was before knowing that he himself alleged that Scaramello poisoned him and given his shady connections in relation to Italy that brings up a whole new can of worms.

          • I knew European Tribune was starting to get some traction when I saw it denounced as ‘another KGB backed media operation’ somewhere a few months ago.

      • Dear John,

        Just to make clear, what I said was that for ME to say anything more about Berezovsky would be superfluous. I am not qualified to be his biographer. I am not saying his biography should not be written. On the contrary, I agree with you that it would be an extraordinary and fascinating topic.

        I basically agree with you on the subject of the Moscow apartment bombings. I got into an argument about them many years ago with a friend of mine in Cambridge and I therefore looked into them closely. Contrary to what TRex says, there is absolutely no doubt that Putin and the FSB were not involved in the bombings in any way and that the bombings were the work of jihadi groups based in the northern Caucasus. As you absolutely rightly say several of the people involved were caught and tried and are now in prison. None of the verdicts of the trials were overturned by the European Court of Human Rights as they certainly would have been if they were unfair and there is no doubt that the verdicts are correct. In fact there is very little mystery about the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings. We know who did them and why. We even know the names of those involved.

        It was through researching the Moscow apartment bombings that I first realised how important Berezovsky has been in shapinng western perceptions of Russia and of Putin. I don’t personally believe he had any involvement in the bombings himself but I remember being struck how repeatedly and without exception all the supposed “sources” that claimed FSB involvement in the bombings could be traced back to him. After a while it became pretty obvious to me that he was orchestrating the story. Perhaps he wasn’t the first person to allege that the FSB carried out the bombings but I have absolutely no doubt that he was far and away the story’s main propagator and that it would never have gained the attention and the traction that it did had he not deployed his very considerable resources and imagination to giving it the greatest degree of publicity imaginable.

        That by the way touches on what I suspect was Berezovsky’s main achievement (if that is the right word). He was never much of a politician or power broker and he was absolutely not a businessman. What he was first and foremost was a supreme propagator of myths. Many of the fantasies that circulate about Russia and about Putin have their origins with him.

        That is not to say of course that he was not also a dangerous man. As I have said, Litvinenko in his last interview openly claimed to have carried out or organised murders on what can only have been his behalf. However Berezovsky was hardly the only Russian oligarch in the 1990s to behave in this way. No other oligarch could however hope to match his gift for telling a story or his ability to get other people to believe in it or to shape their views around it. As a supreme narcissist most of his stories narually revolved around himself. His problems came when he came up against people like Putin or Mrs. Justice Gloster who do not see (and are trained not to see) what isn’t there. At that moment his fantasies quickly fell apart and were exposed for the fictions they are.

        • “It was through researching the Moscow apartment bombings that I first realised how important Berezovsky has been in shapinng western perceptions of Russia and of Putin. I don’t personally believe he had any involvement in the bombings himself but I remember being struck how repeatedly and without exception all the supposed “sources” that claimed FSB involvement in the bombings could be traced back to him.” Berezovsky’s entire clique were critical to the ‘Al-KGB-aeda’ theory that ‘linked’

          The You Know Whos seeking to rationalize the looting of Cypriots savings by the EUrocrats using British dupes/or willful puppets like Weiss or Warner don’t like sites like EuroTrib pointing out how desperate the Brussels brigands are to keep the Russians hands off Cyprus and the gas.

          Personally, I’m disappointed that the Cypriots bent over for the troika this weekend. But the whole island was increasingly under blockade. I just wish the Cypriots had put Merkel and the Germans in the role of Stalin in 1948 West Berlin, and invited Putin to send a few Antonovs loaded with rubles. Trouble is that may’ve spared Cypriots from starvation or gasoline shortages by giving them a currency to receive salaries and transact in, but wouldn’t help the pensioners or cash poor-savers on the island.

          I suppose they Vichy Cypriots consider the ‘haircut’ for the large deposit holders as being less destructive than trying to convert the frozen euros into a local currency had the old Cypriot pound printing presses been fired up. But there was another ‘solution’ that had not been tried at all — dollarization or ruble-ization. Had the yuan been a free floating currency, the Cypriot authorities might’ve tried that gambit like the Argentines did in desperation in 2001. Now we may never know, unless the ‘deal’ allegedly reached today gets torn up before dawn tomorrow or the Cypriot rascals who reached it flee the country.

  3. Smart criminals are the most formidable. Berezovsky had a PhD in mathematics, with a distinguished publication record in his field.

    I will say something else positive about Berezovsky – he’s quite a wizard at the keyboard:

    • Dear Scowpsi,

      Just to confirm, Berezovsky the oligarch and Berezovsky the pianist are two completely different people even though they have the same first name. In all other respects I agree with your characterisation of Berezovsky the oligarch.

      • Well, I guess my little joke fell flat…

        • Gosh, Sorry Scowpsi. It’s just that I happen to be quite a fan of Berezovsky the pianist.

          • Read an interview with the pianist ‘Boris Berezovsky’ printed in a London newspaper years ago in which he brought up the subject the trouble he occaissionally had by having the same name as some ‘big mafia type’.
            This was about 2000 or so(?).
            I’ll see if I can find it.

  4. moscowexile says

    Interestingly, having taken a quick glance at the comments to the Forbes article, a large number of people have stated their opinion that the journalist is a “liar”, that the whole piece is a tissue of lies, that the article smacks of the FSB, that it stinks of the Lubyanka etc., etc.

    As regards Berezovsky’s character, I’ve mentioned on other threads that I am acquainted with someone who knew him well in academia and who disliked him intensely. That acquaintance of mine is no intellectual slouch either: he arrived in Moscow as a 14-year-old Wunderkind in order to study mathematics at MGU. At first I thought his dislike of the man was because of his political intrigues and alleged criminality. Not so: he disliked him, he said, because of his immorality.

    At first I thought my acquaintance was referring to some sexual peccadilloes that Berezovsky may have had, but that was not the case. I then asked if he was really referring to Berezovsky’s possible amorality, to which suggestion my acquaintance again replied in the negative, saying that Berezovsky certainly knew the difference between “right” and “wrong” but didn’t give a damn about such trivialities and that the only criterion in his decision making processes was to how great an extent any action he took would be of benefit to him.

    • That would be psychopathy, I believe. A most useful quality in politics and business, but it pays to hide it. (Something that BAB doesn’t excel at – as he himself admits, he’s not “very good” with people).

      I too have read the comments at Russian Forbes with amusement. What can one say? Typical Londongrad.

    • Forbes Russia’s senior editorial staff is staunchly anti-Putin, the though that they’d work for the FSB is comical.

  5. The very latest information I have heard here in Britain is that Berezovsky hanged himself. Has anyone heard anything?

    • Funny because that was how Rudolf Hess allegedly killed himself although it was technically impossible given his age, physical ability and impending release from prison and a Serb defendant in The Hague.

      Totally speculative but seeing how “Russia killed him” conspiracy theories is prevalent in this case I see that it would be more likely and credible that that MI6 killed him that Russian intelligence they would have every reason to kill him especially the contacts and alliances he has made since the 90’s and knowing what he knows and his dire financial situation was to dangerous a liability.

      I wondering if he tried a Robert Maxwell and dared to blackmail British establishment that has was going to reveal at least some of his secrets unless they give him money.

      Now that he is dead we will probably never get the answers although no reporter was asking the question when he was alive with the exception of Kleibnakov.

    • David Habakkuk says

      Alexander Mercouris,

      It could have been ‘the citizen of the canton of Uri.’

  6. Chrisius Maximus says

    Hey that’s my conspiracy theory!!!!!!!! 🙂

    • But it was acknowledged:

      As one of my Facebook friends put it, my own radical conspiracy theory is that Berezovsky was rather old, depressed, and out of shape.

      (Just that AFAIK you want to remain anonymous here).