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Business News/ News / What happened to other Vladimir Putin critics like Alexei Navalny? Hint: Poisoning, shooting, window falls
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What happened to other Vladimir Putin critics like Alexei Navalny? Hint: Poisoning, shooting, window falls

Alexei Navalny's mother was told that Russian opposition leader was struck down by “sudden death syndrome”. Here's a look at the “mysterious fate” of some other critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Alexei Navalny dies: Candles and flowers are brought to a makeshift memorial in Helsinki, Finland on February 17, 2024, one day after Russian officials announced the death of the Kremlin's most prominent critic Alexei Navalny. (AFP)Premium
Alexei Navalny dies: Candles and flowers are brought to a makeshift memorial in Helsinki, Finland on February 17, 2024, one day after Russian officials announced the death of the Kremlin's most prominent critic Alexei Navalny. (AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin's critic Alexei Navalny died in prison on Friday. His spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh cited an official notice given to Navalny's mother to confirm the demise of the Russian opposition leader. Yarmysh, however, tweeted, "Alexei Navalny was murdered". 

While the cause of Navalny's death was ascertained, his mother was told on Saturday that Russian leader was struck down by "sudden death syndrome" and that his body would not be handed over to the family until an investigation was completed, his team was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Navalny's death brought back into focus other critics and foes of Putin who died in "mysterious" circumstances. Here's a look at some other foes of Russian President Putin and their “mysterious fate":

Yevgeny Prigozhin

Yevgeny Prigozhin and the top lieutenants of his Wagner private military company were killed in a plane crash in August 2023. The incident was reported two months after he launched an armed rebellion that Putin labelled “a stab in the back" and “treason". Prigozhin had vowed to topple the Russian military leadership and questioned the motives for going to war in Ukraine.

According to reports, Prigozhin's mutiny was suddenly aborted as he ordered his troops to lay down their arms. This happened before they were relocated to Belarus under a deal brokered by that country’s Russia-allied president, Alexander Lukashenko.

Two months later, the business jet Prigozhin was flying on from Moscow to St Petersburg reportedly exploded. The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the accident.

Ravil Maganov

Ravil Maganov died after reportedly falling from a sixth-floor window at the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow. The chairman of the board of Russia’s second-largest oil producer Lukoil met a tragic end six months after he openly criticised the war in Ukraine, the Independent reported. It was the eighth time in 2022 that a Russian energy executive has died suddenly and under unusual circumstances, CNBC reported.

Alexander Litvinenko

In 2006, Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko became ill in London after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium-210. He died three weeks later. , Litvinenko was a former agent for the KGB (Russia's Soviet Security Intelligence) and its post-Soviet successor agency, the FSB.

As per the Associated Press, a British inquiry found that Russian agents had killed Litvinenko, probably with Putin’s approval, but the Kremlin denied any involvement.

Litvinenko was investigating the death of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya as well as the Russian intelligence service’s alleged links to organised crime. Before dying, he had told journalists the FSB was still operating a poisons laboratory dating from the Soviet era.

Anna Politkovskaya

Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist and human rights activist, was killed in the elevator of her apartment building at the age of 48. Five men were sentenced for her killing, but it remains unclear who ordered the murder. According to the Independent, Putin said after her death that her reporting work was “extremely insignificant for political life in Russia" and that her murder led to “far greater injuries and damage than her publications".

Sergei Skripal

Former Russian intelligence officer, Sergei Skripal, was allegedly poisoned in Britain in 2018. He and his adult daughter Yulia fell ill in the city of Salisbury and spent weeks in critical condition. They survived, but the attack later claimed the life of a British woman and left a man and a police officer seriously ill.

Authorities had reportedly said both Skripal and Litvinenko were poisoned with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok.

Pyotr Verzilov

In 2018, Pyotr Verzilov, a founder of the protest group Pussy Riot, fell severely ill and was flown to Berlin, where doctors said the poisoning was “highly plausible." He eventually recovered. Earlier that year, Verzilov had embarrassed the Kremlin by running onto the field during soccer’s World Cup final in Moscow with three other activists to protest police brutality. His allies said he could have been targeted because of his activism.

Boris Nemtsov

One deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltsin, Nemtsov was a popular politician and harsh critic of Putin, the report said. In February 2015, he was shot down by assailants on a bridge adjacent to the Kremlin as he walked with his girlfriend in a death that shocked the country. Five men from the Russian region of Chechnya were convicted for their killing, with the gunman receiving up to 20 years. But Nemtsov’s allies said that was an attempt to shift blame from the government.

Vladimir Kara-Murza

Murza, a prominent opposition leader, survived what he believes were attempts to poison him in 2015 and 2017. He nearly died from kidney failure in the first instance and suspects poisoning but no cause was determined. He was hospitalised with a similar illness in 2017 and put into a medically induced coma. His wife said doctors confirmed he was poisoned. His lawyer says police have refused to investigate. Last year, he was convicted of treason and sentenced to 25 years in prison, the Associated Press reported.

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Published: 17 Feb 2024, 10:46 PM IST
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