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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Inquiry Opened in Journalist's Death

Moscow prosecutors on Monday said they were investigating the possibility that Kommersant journalist Ivan Safronov had been driven to suicide, Itar-Tass reported.

"A preliminary investigation has been conducted and the decision has been made to open an official probe to look into all of the details of this incident," a source in the City Prosecutor's Office told Itar-Tass.

Prosecutors initially told Itar-Tass they believed that Safronov, who fell to his death from a fifth-story window over the weekend, had committed suicide.

Safronov, a 51-year old former officer in the armed forces who wrote on military affairs, was found dead outside his Moscow apartment Friday. There was no evidence of an attack, but colleagues of the journalist said they did not believe the suicide theory.

Kommersant deputy editor Ilya Bulavinov said the newspaper would conduct its own investigation. "Of course Ivanych did not go of his own accord," Bulavinov wrote in the daily on Monday, using a familiar, shortened form of Safronov's patronymic.

The journalist had been taking care of his ailing mother and would not have wanted to leave her on her own, his colleagues said. Safronov was diagnosed with an ulcer shortly before his death, but this would not have driven him to suicide, they said.

Many journalists in Russia treat the deaths of colleagues with suspicion because of a history of violent attacks on media professionals.

(MT, AP, Reuters)