3 Russians have died mysteriously in Odisha in a fortnight

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadJan 03, 2023 | 15:01

3 Russians have died mysteriously in Odisha in a fortnight

A third Russian found dead in Odisha. Representative photo.

Odisha, a state in eastern India on the Bay of Bengal, has become an unlikely place for multiple mysterious deaths of Russian nationals. A week after two Russians died days apart at a hotel in Odisha, a third Russian has also been found dead aboard a cargo ship in the same state. 

Who? The deceased has been identified as Sergey Milyakov, aged 51. Milyakov is suspected to have collapsed after a heart attack aboard the cargo vessel MB Aldnah.

  • He was the chief engineer of MB Aldnah, the vessel which is reportedly engaged by an Indian steel manufacturer in coastal shipping.
  • His body was found dead in his chamber aboard the ship around 4.30 am. 
At around 4 am, the captain of the ship sent a message to the port authorities about the death of a crew member. As per standard operating procedure, the port health officer visited the vessel and confirmed the death.
- Port official
  • There were 23 crew members on the vessel including a few Indians. 

Where? The cargo ship has anchored at Paradip port in Jagatsinghpur district.

  • The vessel was on its way from Chittagong Port in Bangladesh and was headed to Mumbai via Paradip port. 
  • The cargo ship was scheduled for loading of iron ore at Paradip port. 

What Odisha police is saying? 

…we will first register an unnatural death case and then recover the body and conduct the post-mortem to ascertain the exact cause of death at Kujang in the presence of a magistrate.
- Paradip ASP Nimai Charan Sethi (Indian Express)
  • Jagatsinghpur SP Akhilesvhar Singh also told TOI that they will be video recording the autopsy process and preserving Milyakov's visceral samples and his body. 
  • Odisha police had come under criticism for not video recording the post-mortem procedures of Pavel Antov, another Russian national who died just days ago. 

The Russian deaths in Odisha: A wave of Russian deaths under mysterious circumstances in Odisha is raising eyebrows. Speculations are being made about whether the deaths are linked to a hit job either directly by the Russian state and President Vladimir Putin or other warring business entities.

  • On December 22, a Russian national named Vladimir Bidenov (61) was found dead in his hotel room in Rayagada district surrounded by alcohol bottles. 
  • It was ruled that he died of a heart attack. His body was cremated in Odisha itself. 
  • Bidenov was staying at the hotel with three other Russians, a couple and a Russian millionaire lawmaker. They were accompanied by an Indian guide.
  • Days later, on December 24, Bidenov's associate Pavel Antov died after 'falling' from a window at the same hotel in Odisha. 
  • Pavel Antov was no ordinary man. He was a Russian politician, an MP, and a multi-millionaire with a sausage empire. He belonged to a pro-Putin political party.
  • However, Antov also briefly criticised Putin's war in Ukraine, calling it a terror. Though he retracted his comments and called it a technical error. 
  • Odisha police and the CID have been pressed into the investigation, which is ongoing. Pavel Antov's autopsy did not find any foul play, however, Odisha police was criticised for not preserving Antov's body, his visceral samples and videographing the post-mortem process. 
  • Pavel Antov and Vladimir Bidenov's bodies were cremated in Odisha after permission from the families and the Russian consulate. The Russian Embassy has called it nothing more than an accident. 
  • On the other hand, CID is reportedly planning to take the help of Interpol since the investigation may involve questioning Russian nationals. 

2022 and the beginning of the war in Ukraine have been a dangerous time for several Russian nationals, especially the mega-rich. At least 21 influential Russians have died under mysterious circumstances across the world. But these three latest mysterious Russian deaths were the first to be heard of in India. And most of the people have died in similar ways - 'falling from a window', hanging, heart attacks, and murder-suicides.

Last updated: January 03, 2023 | 15:01
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