Fourth Russian Ambassador Found Dead in Past Nine Months

Mirgayas Shirinsky
Cemalettin Aydin via Twitter

Russia’s ambassador to Sudan, Mirgayas Shirinsky, was found floating in his swimming pool in Khartoum on Wednesday. He is the fourth Russian ambassador in nine months to die on the job.

The other three were U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin, and Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov. There is little mystery surrounding Karlov’s death, as he was shot on camera by a jihadi Turkish police officer who yelled “Allahu Akbar!” as he pulled the trigger.

Kadakin, a long-serving envoy who was well-liked in India, reportedly died after a “brief illness.” Churkin is said to have died of a heart attack. Both were in their sixties at the time of death, as was Shirinsky.

Sky News quotes the Russian Foreign Ministry stating that Shirinsky also died from an acute heart attack. Sudanese officials also said they believed his death was due to natural causes. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that an ambulance was summoned for Shirinsky when he was found, but it was too late to save him.

Zakharova called Shirinsky a “great professional” who “dedicated his life to diplomacy.” He served as ambassador to Rwanda and held diplomatic positions in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen before becoming Russia’s ambassador to Sudan in 2013.

The Washington Post adds a few more Russian diplomatic officials to the death toll over the past year: Petr Polshikov, who formerly worked for the Latin American division of the Foreign Ministry and was shot in the head by unknown assailants in his bathroom; consular duty commander Sergey Krivov, who somehow fell from a fatal height in New York; and Russia’s head consul in Greece, Andrey Malanin, found lying dead on the floor of his apartment bedroom with no visible injuries and no sign of a break-in.

The New York Times notes that Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is preparing to visit Russia as a sign of “improved relations between the two countries,” even though there are outstanding International Criminal Court warrants for Bashir’s arrest on war crime and genocide charges.


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