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Published in Stream:
Day 821: May 18, 2016
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Report of Odessa Lawyer's Murder Turns Out to be Hoax Staged by Ukrainian Police to Catch Plotters
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Reports that a lawyer was shot dead by unknown persons in Odessa turned out to be a hoax, and the murder staged by the Ukrainian National Police in order to catch would-be perpetrators, reported. He is still alive. We have corrected our previous story.

As we reported May 16, Aleksandr Pogoreliy, a prominent lawyer in Odessa who was representing an Estonian businessman, Marsel Vikhman, in a construction project, was reported to have been killed by unidentified gunmen in a Lexus car who drove by and shot him late on the evening of May 15.

A picture with a police car and faked body bag was even published by a local publication and spread over social media.

Pogoreliy heads the law firm Privilegiya. There was some social media commentary that a possible motive for the murder was that Pogoreliy had allegedly crossed Sergey Kivalov, a politicianand former Party of Regions MP who was a close associate of deposed president Viktor Yanukovich. Pogoreliy, the son of a judge on the appellate court in Odessa Region, was said to have worked for Kivalov then "crossed over to his enemies." says the police got word of a planned attempt on Pogoreliy's life back in March and began to hatch the plan for a hoax. 

"Some bright head in Kiev got the idea to stage [the murder], which was successfully implemented," says According to information obtained by, the operation was planned by the central office of the National Police of Ukraine under the personal control of Khatiya Dekanoidze.

Pogoreliy had publicly accused officials and criminal underworld figures close to them of manipulating the elections in Zatoka, a resort town, and of stealing land and black-mailing the Estonian investor Vikhman. Lawyers at Privilegiya conducted their own investigation into criminal activity in the town and shared this information with both law-enforcers and journalists.

Police convinced him to play along with the faking of his own death, then spread the information with the faked picture through social media.

Meanwhile, the police detained the would-be killers, with weapons in their possession, in cars with license plates from Russian-occupied Crimea. They said they also detained a middle-man in the planned killing and would issue information about the contractor of the murder soon. No names were supplied.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick