F, 53  
not confirmed  
TV & radio  
Federal District Plus
Street, Town, Region
local, Kaskad TV & radio company  
Other Ties
Cause of Death
fall from height?  
Legal Qualification
Article 110 ("Incitement to suicide") of the RF Criminal Code  
investigation, closed  
Post Image

CASE CLOSED (29 September 2010)

An investigation into the death of Olga Kotovskaya concluded she had not been “driven to suicide” nor that she had been murdered, said Mariana Andryushina, a spokeswoman for the Investigative Committee. After examining various scenarios, conducting posthumous psychiatric and forensic investigations, and interrogating witnesses, including the deceases friends and family, the conclusion was that Kotovskaya had committed suicide.


A "TRAGIC DEATH" (16 November 2009)

Olga Kotovskaya, former director of the Kaskad independent TV and radio company, died a tragic death in Kaliningrad on 16 November. cites a senior assistant head of the Investigations Committee at the prosecutor’s office as saying that Kotovskaya jumped out of a 14th-floor balcony window and died instantly. Investigators are still deciding whether or not to institute criminal proceedings.

Kaskad was co-founded by journalists Olga Kotovskaya and Igor Rostov in 1991. In 2006 Kotovskaya and her partners Igor Rostov and Svetlana Ryabukha lost control over the company, when the Kaliningrad Region former vice-governor Vladimir Pirogov stepped in as an alleged co-owner. Kotovskaya filed a legal claim to declare the new leadership’s powers null and void because the minutes of the board meeting replacing her as company director had been forged. Earlier this month the Arbitration Court of Kaliningrad satisfied her claim cancelling the change of management on the grounds that neither Kotovskaya nor Ryabukha had attended that board meeting. Kotovskaya’s signature in the minutes had been forged because Olga was on a trip abroad on the day of the meeting.

Local journalists want the case to be investigated as thoroughly as possible: they maintain the former Kaskad director may have been killed after a hostile attempt to take over the company failed, the Russian News Service reports. Kotovskaya was also involved in organizing Russkoye Radio broadcasting in Kaliningrad.

According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Igor Rostov, Olga’s husband and former co-owner of Kaskad, told the regional duma deputy Igor Rudnikov soon after his wife’s death: “It was murder. If my dead body is found somewhere on a railroad track, don’t believe I committed suicide.” Arbitration court press secretary Igor Belov said he, too, finds the suicide version unlikely since Kotovskaya was due to attend renewed court hearings in the coming days about the return of the TV company’s ownership. Local opposition activists insist it was a murder linked with the victim’s journalistic activities. “I cannot imagine a person who has just won the case of her life in court jumping out of a 14th-floor window,” said regional duma deputy Mikhail Chesalin, leader of the regional branch of the Russian Patriots’ Party. Another local deputy Solomon Ginsburg said Kotovskaya turned to him for help last year after she had been insistently advised by certain high-ranking officials in the Kaliningrad Region administration to cease all judicial proceedings aimed at regaining her ownership of Kaskad.

The board of the Kaliningrad branch of the Russian Union of Journalists published a statement on 17 November urging the law enforcement agencies to launch criminal proceedings and ensure that Olga Kotovskaya’s tragic death is investigated in every detail.

“We emphasize that the suicide version looks the most ‘convenient’ one today. Therefore, we urge you not to take the soft option but check all the other versions, too, identifying the maximum number of persons knowing all the circumstances of that tragedy,” the RUJ statement says.

GDF weekly digest, 26 November (Eng)

Photo: Kotovskaya with husband Igor Rostov,
from Tridevyaty region (Kaliningrad Region weekly newspaper)

UPDATE (30 November)

Finding no signs of homicide, the Investigations Committee of the Regional Prosecutor's Office opened a criminal investigation on 26 November under Article 110 (incitement to suicide) of the RF Criminal Code. GDF report for November cites as the source of this information.

An extended article in Dvornik (est. 1998), a free weekly newspaper in Kaliningrad, expressed concern at this development in the investigation. It noted that Kotovskaya did not live in the building outside which her body was found and there were no witnesses to confirm that she had indeed leapt from a 14th floor balcony there. (in Russian)