Before Pavel Antov turned up dead in Odisha, 20 rich Russians died mysteriously in 2022 alone

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadDec 28, 2022 | 13:45

Before Pavel Antov turned up dead in Odisha, 20 rich Russians died mysteriously in 2022 alone

Russian multi-millionaire politician's death in India raises eyebrows. Photo: DailyO

Russia's business class, rich men are increasingly turning up dead in mysterious ways. Most of these deaths have similar stories - falling from a window/balcony/stairs/boat, hanging, murder-suicides, and suicides. 

There have been so many rich and dead Russians this year alone that there's a Wikipedia page dedicated to tracking and listing all of these deaths. So far, there are 21 deaths listed on Wikipedia.


The latest addition to the list is Pavel Antov, a multi-millionaire pro-Putin politician (who criticised the Ukraine war), who "fell" to his death from a window of a hotel in Odisha, India. Antov's death is perhaps the first high-profile Russian death to have taken place in India this year since most of the other similar deaths either occurred in Russia or Europe. 

Common themes in the cause of death of the rich Russians:

  • Wrists slit, suicide note found next to body 
  • A stroke, stroke and suffocation 
  • Heart attack and toad poison during shamanic ritual
  • Body found hanging in garage, suicide note found/not found 
  • Murder-suicide of families
  • Fell off a cliff while hiking/fell off apartment/boat/stairs/balcony/window, fell ill and fell off the railing 
  • Gunshot wounds to the head
  • Helicopter crash

In most of these cases, the cause of death has been cited as suicide, accident, or heart attack. Unexplained deaths of influential Russians are not uncommon; but this year is special because of the Ukraine war

So, what to make of these high-profile Russian deaths? When we look at the deaths of the rich Russians individually, it doesn't seem too odd. But when all of them are looked at together, the deaths do appear suspicious. 


Theory 1: Of course, the most tantalising theory is that all of the suicides, accidents, and natural deaths are murders linked to the Kremlin and carried out on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • Putin is certainly capable of such, no doubt. Bill Browder, Russian businessman turned Kremlin critic told ABC News in October 2022 that some of these deaths could be Kremlin-ordered to fund Putin's Ukraine war. 
I would suspect that this guy said 'no' and then the best way of getting that flow of cash is to kill him and then ask his replacement the same question.
- Bill Browder to ABC News
  • Maybe, Vladimir Putin needs money to fund his Ukraine war and the cash can come from the wealthy oil companies. If someone were to say no, they would be eliminated and presented as an example for the next executive. 

Theory 2: Some of them could be suicides or accidents like they appear to be. In 2019, the WHO found that Russia has the third-highest suicide rate in the world. 

  • So, there is a possibility that some of the suicides of the rich Russians could indeed be suicides. 
  • Given the sanctions and the economic conditions of Russia starting with the Ukraine war, it is possible that some of the businessmen were under financial pressure. 

Theory 3: Another possibility is that some of the deaths are murders, but not by Kremlin, instead by the cut-throat business culture of Russia; essentially rich Russians killing other rich Russians. 


...shady business, attempt to cover tracks, attempt to wipe out a competitor, trying to maybe get rid of someone who's inconvenient at a time when there's a lot of pressure on state-affiliated companies, especially in the oil and gas sector, but also in the defense sector.

  • Again, the Russian businessmen killing each other could be a sign of a bad economy, the pressure of the sanctions and a bid to retain the wealth. 

The rich Russians dropping dead mysteriously or non-mysteriously are not all Putin critics, some of them were allies, who benefited from him. Some of them were also allies gone bad, and critical of Putin's ways.

The latest on Pavel Antov: The Russian Embassy, meanwhile told the media that the death of Pavel Antov and his associate Vladimir Bidenov did not look suspicious. The Odisha police, however, have intensified their investigations into the deaths of the two Russians at the hotel Sai International in Rayagada.

Last updated: December 28, 2022 | 18:47
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