Falls from windows, poisoned food, physically impossible self-strangulation, and bodies discovered with head trauma or bullet holes — these are some of the ways that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s political opponents have met their unnatural deaths in recent years.
The latest example of that trend came Wednesday, when Russian state media network TASS reported Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the private mercenary Wagner Group, .
A catering magnate nicknamed “Putin’s chef,” the Russian oligarch turned on his patron earlier this summer, when — after criticizing Russia’s strategy in its invasion of Ukraine, where Wagner soldiers are serving — he directed his troops to march on Moscow. Putin declared the rebellion “a knife in the back of our country” and , and Prighozin backed down, retreating to neighboring ally Belarus. Russian media also reported Wednesday that a was fired from being commander of the country’s air force.
The plane was carrying three crew members and seven passengers from Moscow to St. Petersburg when it went down roughly 185 miles north of the capital.
Putin has a long record of . If Prigozhin is dead, “no one should be surprised,” White House spokesperson Adrienne Watson
Some of Putin’s foes have survived apparent assassination attempts. Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, Navalny in Siberia in 2020 with what Western experts determined was the military nerve agent Novichok. He survived but is . And
Sergei Skripal, former Russian double agent living in England, was infamously poisoned with a military-grade nerve weapon in 2018. The British government said it was Russia’s government was responsible.
Here are some of the other most prominent examples of .
Putin’s adversaries have developed the strange habit of . Last December, Antov, a Russian businessman and politician fell from a hotel window in Rayagada, India after having criticized the war with Ukraine on WhatsApp, the
Also last year, Lukoil chairman Ravil Maganov, who had criticized the invasion of Ukraine, of a Moscow hospital in September 2022. In an official statement Lukoil died “,” which it did not name.
A former Russian parliamentarian and an outspoken Putin critic, Voronenkov had fled to Ukraine, where he was killed by gunshot in Kyiv in 2017. Ukraine’s then-President Petro Poroshenko as an “act of state terrorism” by Russia — which the Kremlin denied.
In 2015, Lesin, a former Kremlin press minister, was found dead of “blunt force trauma to the head” in a Washington, D.C., hotel room. Lesin was under FBI investigation for potential money laundering and experts speculated that he was killed because he was making a plea deal with the bureau that would have revealed corruption among the Russian elite, .
Nemtsov, a political reformer who led massive protests of the 2011 parliamentary election results, for which he had been arrested several times, to death near the Kremlin in 2015. Putin said he would take “personal control” of the investigation, but the murderer was never found.
In 2009, Estemirova, a human rights activist investigating Russia’s brutal prosecution of its war in the breakaway republic of Chechnya, was . In 2021, ruled Russian authorities did not conduct an effective investigation into the murder.
In 2006, the former Russian intelligence agent died 2006 less than three three weeks after drinking tea , a rare and very potent radioactive isotope during a meeting with two Russian spies at a London hotel. Before fleeing Russia for the United Kingdom, Litvinenko had accused Putin of corruption.
A Russian journalist who accused Putin of creating a police state, in 2006 outside her apartment. When five men were convicted of her murder, it was a contract killing for $150,000, paid by “a person unknown.”
Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko during the 2004 Ukrainian presidential campaign in which he ran on a pro-Western ticket against pro-Russia Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich. His face and body were disfigured, and he had dozens of operations as a result.
The member of Russian parliament had just registered his Liberal Russia movement as a political party when he was outside his Moscow home in 2003. Yushenkov, who was active in human rights organizations, was reportedly to prove Putin’s government was behind the deadly 1999 bombing of an apartment building.