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With Prigozhin on top, list of Putin’s dead critics continues to grow amid Russia-Ukraine war

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In this pool photograph distributed by Sputnik agency, Russia´s President Vladimir Putin (R) attends a meeting with Vladimir Saldo (L), Moscow´s appointed head of the Kherson region of Ukraine, in Moscow, on August 24, 2023.—AFP 

The period leading up to and during the Russia-Ukraine war has been marked by a disturbing series of deaths of political opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin, with the Chief of the mercenary army Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, most likely to be the latest addition to the unfortunate club.

Russian state media reported that all 10 passengers of a plane were dead after it crashed in Russia two days ago.

These individuals, known for their criticism of Putin’s policies, have met untimely demises in various enigmatic ways, raising questions about potential foul play and government involvement.

Surviving assassination attempts

Several of Putin’s rivals have narrowly escaped deadly plots. Alexei Navalny, a prominent opposition figure, survived a nerve agent assassination attempt in Siberia in 2020, although he now resides in prison.

Similarly, Sergei Skripal, a former double agent for Russia, was poisoned in England in 2018 by a military-grade agent, an act attributed to the Russian government by British authorities.

The list of individuals who have seemingly suffered a similar fate as Prigozhin is as follows:

Pavel Antov 

A critic of the Ukraine war, Antov died after falling from a hotel window in India in 2022, following his WhatsApp critique.

Ravil Maganov

Lukoil’s chairman, who opposed the Ukraine invasion, died after falling from a Moscow hospital window in 2022, officially due to severe illness.

Denis Voronenkov

A vocal Putin opponent was shot dead in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2017, sparking accusations of state terrorism.

Mikhail Lesin

Former Kremlin press secretary was found dead in a Washington, DC, hotel room in 2015 under suspicious circumstances, amidst FBI investigations.

Boris Nemtsov 

A political reformer was shot near the Kremlin in 2015; the case remains unsolved despite Putin’s assurance of personal oversight.

Natalia Estemirova

A human rights activist was abducted and murdered in 2009 while investigating Russian actions in Chechnya; the case was inadequately investigated.

Alexander Litvinenko

An ex-Russian intelligence agent was fatally poisoned with a radioactive isotope in London in 2006.

Anna Politkovskaya

A Journalist critical of Putin was assassinated in 2006; perpetrators were alleged to be hired hitmen.

Viktor Yushchenko

Ukrainian opposition leader poisoned with dioxin during 2004 election campaign; suffered severe disfigurement.

Sergei Yushenkov 

Russian parliament member fatally shot in 2003; investigating Putin administration’s role in a past explosion.

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