Pig's blood, a staged photo and a trip to the morgue: Russian journalist describes faking his own death

  • 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. 

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Russian dissident journalist Arkady Babchenko (L) speaks during an interview with foreign media in Kiev, Ukraine May 31, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Russian dissident journalist Arkady Babchenko touches his face during an interview with foreign media, with a portrait of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko seen in the background, in Kiev, Ukraine May 31, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Russian dissident journalist Arkady Babchenko smiles during an interview with foreign media in Kiev, Ukraine May 31, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Russian dissident journalist Arkady Babchenko speaks during an interview with foreign media in Kiev, Ukraine May 31, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Russian dissident journalist Arkady Babchenko speaks during an interview with foreign media in Kiev, Ukraine May 31, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Russian dissident journalist Arkady Babchenko speaks during an interview with foreign media, with a portrait of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko seen in the background, in Kiev, Ukraine May 31, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Russian dissident journalist Arkady Babchenko (R) holds his portrait while listening to deputy chief of the Crimean Tatar channel ATR Aider Muzhdabaiev at the office of the channel in Kiev, Ukraine May 31, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Russian dissident journalist Arkady Babchenko (C) greets acquaintances as he visits the office of the Crimean Tatar channel ATR in Kiev, Ukraine May 31, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Russian dissident journalist Arkady Babchenko (L) visits the office of the Crimean Tatar channel ATR in Kiev, Ukraine May 31, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, who was reported murdered in the Ukrainian capital on May 29, speaks during a news briefing by the Ukrainian state security service in Kiev, Ukraine May 30, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko attends an interview in Kiev, Ukraine November 14, 2017. Picture taken November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Vitalii Nosach
Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko (C), who was reported murdered in the Ukrainian capital on May 29, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko (R) and head of the state security service (SBU) Vasily Gritsak attend a news briefing in Kiev, Ukraine May 30, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko attends an interview in Kiev, Ukraine November 14, 2017. Picture taken November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Vitalii Nosach
Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko smokes a cigarette during an interview in Kiev, Ukraine November 14, 2017. Picture taken November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Vitalii Nosach
Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko attends an interview in Kiev, Ukraine November 14, 2017. Picture taken November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Vitalii Nosach
Police cars are seen parked in front of an apartment block where Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was shot and died of his wounds in an ambulance, in Kiev, Ukraine May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
A Ukrainian police officer guards near an apartment block where Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was shot and died of his wounds in an ambulance, in Kiev, Ukraine May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Ukrainian police officers guard in the entrance to a house where Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was shot and died of his wounds in an ambulance, in Kiev, Ukraine May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Ukrainian police officers guard as flowers are placed near the entrance to a house where Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was shot and died of his wounds in an ambulance, in Kiev, Ukraine May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
People gather outside an apartment block where Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was shot and died of his wounds in an ambulance, in Kiev, Ukraine May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Ukrainian police officers guard in the entrance to a house where Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was shot and died of his wounds in an ambulance, in Kiev, Ukraine May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Police cars are seen parked in front of an apartment block where Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was shot and died of his wounds in an ambulance, in Kiev, Ukraine May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Ukrainian police officers guard in the entrance to a house where Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was shot and died of his wounds in an ambulance, in Kiev, Ukraine May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Flowers lay under a picture of the 41-year-old anti-Kremlin reporter Arkady Babchenko on the memorial wall of Moscow's journalists house in Moscow on May 30, 2018. - The prominent Russian war correspondent and former soldier was shot dead on May 29 evening in an apparent contract-style killing in the stairwell of his building in Kiev. He had moved to the Ukrainian capital last year following a campaign of harassment in Moscow. (Photo by Vasily MAXIMOV / AFP) (Photo credit should read VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MAY 30, 2018: A portrait of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, who was shot dead in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 29, 2018, on a memorial wall by the offices of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper. Sergei Savostyanov/TASS (Photo by Sergei Savostyanov\TASS via Getty Images)
The portraits of killed Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko are seen on a fence of Russian embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, 30 May, 2018. Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was shot and died of his wounds in an ambulance, late evening on 29 May 2018. "Arkady Babchenko was killed by three gunshots to the back in the stairwell of his building as he came home from the store," wrote on the Facebook journalist Osman Pashayev. (Photo by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
National guard soldier stands near the portraits of killed Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko on a fence of Russian embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, 30 May, 2018. Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was shot and died of his wounds in an ambulance, late evening on 29 May 2018. "Arkady Babchenko was killed by three gunshots to the back in the stairwell of his building as he came home from the store," wrote on the Facebook journalist Osman Pashayev. (Photo by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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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. 

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.'"

 

Arkady BabchenkoReuters

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. 

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