Pavel Antov, a Russian sausage tycoon and lawmaker, was found dead after falling from the third floor of his hotel room in India during a birthday trip, according to The Washington Post. His death is the latest in a series of over twenty mysterious deaths of powerful Russian billionaires this year.
Antov had previously expressed strong opposition to the conflict in Ukraine, describing a Russian missile assault on a Kyiv residential area as “terror.” The criticism might have cost him his life. Just two days earlier, his friend Vladimir Budanov also died at the hotel after suffering a heart attack on the trip.
Antov is not the first Russian tycoon or high-profile critic of President Putin to die under unexplained circumstances following the beginning of Russia’s conflict with Ukraine earlier this year. Since September, over twenty Russian oligarchs and businessmen have died by suicide, including Leonid Shulman, Director of Transport of Gazprom; Igor Nosov, CEO of the Far East and Arctic Development Corporation (KRDV) and former Deputy Governor of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast; Alexander Tyulakov, Deputy General Director of the Unified Settlement Center of Gazprom; Mikhail Watford, businessman; Vasily Melnikov, CEO and owner of Medstorm; Vladislav Avayev, Former Vice President of Gazprombank; Sergey Protosenya, Former Deputy Chairman of Novatek; Andrei Krukovsky, General Director of the Estosadok Krasnaya Polyana ski resort owned by Gazprom; Alexander Subbotin, Board member of Lukoil; Yuri Voronov, CEO of Astra Shipping, a subcontractor of Gazprom; Ravil Maganov, Chairman of Lukoil; Ivan Pechorin, Director of Aviation of the Russian Far East and Arctic Development Corporation (KRDV); Vladimir Sungorkin, Editor-in-chief of Komsomolskaya Pravda; Anatoly Gerashchenko, Former Head of Moscow Aviation Institute; Pavel Pchelnikov, Director of Digital Logistics, a Russian Railways subsidiary; Vyacheslav Taran, Co-founder of Libertex, a forex exchange; Grigory Kochenov, Creative Director of Agima, an IT company; Dmitriy Zelenov, Co-founder of Don-Stroy, a construction company; and Alexander Buzakov, Director General of the Admiralty Shipyards.
It is unclear what the exact cause of death was for Pavel Antov and the other members of the Russian elite who have died under unusual circumstances this year. However, the high number of deaths, particularly among individuals who have expressed opposition to the conflict in Ukraine or are critical of President Putin, has raised concerns and calls for further investigation. It is important for authorities to thoroughly examine these deaths to determine whether they were accidental, suicides, or the result of foul play. It is also crucial for the families of the deceased to receive answers and closure regarding the circumstances of their loved ones’ deaths.