But this theory is not as far-fetched as it may seem. “It’s not a conspiracy theory,” Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Estonia’s president from 2006 to 2016, tweeted on Monday. He added that “defenestrations are a long term practice,” using the technical term for the act of throwing someone out of a window.
There are previous cases of Russian officials allegedly trying to kill adversaries by pushing them out of windows. In 2017, Russian lawyer Nikolai Gorokhov was due to testify in a Moscow court against the government. But the day before he could do so, he fell from his fourth-floor apartment. The first news outlet to arrive at the scene? LifeNews, an outlet closely associated with Russia’s security services.
In a 2017 interview with NBC News, Gorokhov — who’d fractured his skull but ultimately survived the fall — said what happened to him was likely foul play. “This was no accident,” he said. “Someone planned this, but unfortunately I do not remember the details.” He refused to elaborate further, saying he feared for his life and for the safety of his family.
There’s also a pattern of Kremlin adversaries being assassinated through other, even more elaborate means. For example, in 2009 Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was poisoned in prison, likely because he had uncovered a massive government-linked fraud scheme that threatened top officials. Six years later, Boris Nemtsov, a top rival to President Vladimir Putin, was killed in the heart of Moscow. And in 2018, two Russians tried to kill with a nerve agent a former Kremlin spy living in the UK.