Since the death of Vitaly Churkin I see more and more speculations that Russian diplomats are being killed (example here and here)  This is exceedingly unlikely and I consider these speculations to be based on ignorance and a form of “clickbaiting”.  Here is why:

  1. So four senior Russian diplomats have died in one month.  Considering how many diplomats Russia has worldwide, this hardly a tsunami.
  2. They died in Ankara (murder), Athens (natural causes), New Delhi (disease) and New York (heart attack).  There is no pattern, no modus operandi, no common link between these men and their deaths.
  3. During the Cold War the US and Soviets had an understanding that they would not attack each other’s personnel simply because any such attack would trigger an immediate retaliation which both sides wanted to avoid.  There is absolutely nothing suggesting that this has changed.
  4. Killing diplomats is useless.  They don’t really take decisions but their symbolic value is immense.  Thus the benefit for murdering them is zero and the cost potentially a nuclear war.
  5. Russia is not the Palestinian Authority which had to ask for a French expertise to establish the real cause of death of Yassir Arafat.  If anybody hard murdered Russian diplomats the Russians would inevitably find out who did it and why and the retaliation would be terrible (all, repeat, all the Takfiri Chechen leaders have by now been killed by the Russians, as have been the units who killed the Russian pilot in Syria as have been the key Takfiri leaders in Aleppo).

Coincidences do happen and not everything is the result of a conspiracy.  In this case, there is exactly zero evidence of a plot by anybody to murder Russian diplomats and spreading rumors about that is unhelpful and distracting from the important issues.

The Saker

UPDATE: okay, I am not coming across, so let me try something different: call two authorities to my rescue.  First, Carl Sagan who used to say that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence“.  In this case, the claim is absolutely extraordinary: the murder of a senior diplomat is basically an act of war.  As for the evidence, at this time of writing it is exactly ZERO.  Nothing.  Ziltch.  Nihil.  My next expert authority is William of Occam who wrote “Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem” which meaning can be roughly rendered as “the simplest explanation is the best”.  For example, while it is definitely *possible* that Russian diplomats have been murdered, it is far more likely that they simply died.  Of course, I cannot prove a negative.  But at this point in time I repeat that this line of speculation is based on absolutely nothing, that there is no evidence at all while the the claim is truly extraordinary.  To simple speculate on the basis of a statistically irrelevant sample and arrive far reaching hypotheses is simply not “analysis”.  At best, this is idle gossip.  Frankly, I am kind of shocked and even disappointed that so many seem to miss the total lack of evidentiary support, nevermind any “proof”, for this hypothesis.

The Essential Saker: from the trenches of the emerging multipolar world