- Arkady Babchenko, the Russian journalist who staged his own death with the help of Ukraine, described in a televised interview on Thursday how the ruse went down.
- He said that pig’s blood and a make-up artist were used to stage a dead photo of him, and that he was afterward taken in an ambulance to the morgue.
- Babchenko also responded to critics who have said that the ruse may ruin the credibility of journalists and the West, and raises a number of ethical questions.
The Russian journalist who staged his own death with the help of Ukraine’s Security Services (SBU) described in a televised interview on Thursday how the ruse went down.
Arkady Babchenko said that pig’s blood and a make-up artist were used to stage a dead photo of him, and that he was afterward taken in an ambulance to the morgue, according to the Moscow Times.
Babchenko, a prominent war reporter and Kremlin critic, was reported assassinated on Tuesday, but then appeared in the flesh at a press conference on Wednesday, where the SBU said that they faked his death to catch a would-be assassin who was allegedly contracted by Russia.
Babchenko said that a make-up artist went to his apartment on Tuesday, that he was a given a shirt with bullet holes, shown how to fall like he’d been shot, and had pig’s blood poured on him before they took the fake picture, according to CNN and the Moscow Times.
Next time you show me photos from Syria by ''White Helmets'' I will show photo of ''dead Arkady Babchenko killed by Putin''.
Ukraine just owned the whole journalism, from now on never trust emotional articles and photos. pic.twitter.com/77ch0XLesP
— Антикаратель (@Antikaratel) May 30, 2018
While “still pretending to be dead,” Babchenko said that he was taken in an ambulance to the morgue, CNN reported. “Measures were taken to resuscitate me but it was not successful and I died, where the doctor established death.”
The medical teams were apparently in on the ruse.
“Once the gates of the morgue closed behind me, I was resurrected,” Babchenko said in the interview, Moscow Times reported. He then washed off the blood, put on a sheet and “watched the news and saw what a great guy I had been.”
Babchenko also responded to critics who have said that the ruse may ruin the credibility of journalists and the West, raising a number of ethical questions.
“Everyone who says this undermines trusts in journalists: what would you do in my place, if they came to you and said there is a hit out on you?” Babchenko said, according to Moscow Times.
Babchenko said that when the SBU told him about the plot, “my first reaction was: ‘To hell with you, I want to pack a bag and disappear to the North Pole’ … But then I realized, where do you hide? Skripal also tried to hide.'”
Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, was poisoned with a nerve agent in the UK, which authorities have blamed on Russia.
Babchenko also responded to a number of British media outlets that criticized his move.
“Dear British press, please go f— yourself. If you want to do good, give me a UK passport and protection. Then you can teach me how to protect my family. F—ing smart—s,” Babchenko said, according to CNN.
Babchenko said now he just wants “to get some decent sleep, maybe get drunk, and then wake up in two or three days,” according to Moscow Times.