In Moscow, a military correspondent for a Russian news agency died after falling from a fifth-story window on Friday, leaving some folks to speculate that he might have been killed for his critical reporting.

Ivan Safronov, the military affairs writer for Kommersant, reportedly fell from a window in the stairwell of his apartment building. His body was found by neighbors shortly after Safronov’s splashdown.

By all accounts, Safronov, who had served as a colonel in the Russian Space Forces before joining the staff of Kommersant, had a habit of shaking up Russian authorities with his critical reporting and was a regular guest of the Federal Security Service (KGB successor agency) who suspected him of espionage.

Naturaly, the Russian authorities are looking at this as a probable suicide, but those who knew Safronov aren’t having any of that. According to the Kommersant newspaper, Safronov’s hat was found on the landing between the fourth and fifth floors, along with a spilled bag of oranges. His apartment was on the third floor.

Back in December, Safronov supposedly pissed off the Russian government by being the first to report the third consecutive launch failure of the new Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile, which President Vladimir “Rootin Tootin” Putin had hoped to be the cornerstone project of revitalized Russian nuclear weapons program.

Here is a little nugget of Russian trivia for you to impress your friends and neighbors with:

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in January that 44 Russian journalists have been killed since 1992, making Russia the third-deadliest country for journalists after Iraq and Algeria during that time. Thirteen journalists have been killed in contract-style murders since Putin took office in 2000, the group said.

While you’re at it, you should check out THIS article from a few days ago, and after that you can mosey on over to Effluent’s place and take a peek at an interesting video of some Russian commando types plinking targets with the image of the late Alexander Litvinenko on them.

[tags]Moscow,Russian,Ivan+Safronov,Kommersant,Bulava+missile, journalist,suicide,murder[/tags]