Two Russians, including an MP, die mysteriously in Odisha hotel, leaving many unanswered questions

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadDec 27, 2022 | 16:24

Two Russians, including an MP, die mysteriously in Odisha hotel, leaving many unanswered questions

Pavel Antov (L). Representative Photo: Various Twitter sources

When you are a Russian with lots of money, it is perhaps better to watch what you say, avoid windows, and tea. That's Survival 101 for Putin's Russians anywhere in the world. But even then your luck could run out if you flout rule no 1. 

Now, a story we have heard several times before is repeating, this time in India. 


A Russian oligarch died after 'falling' out of the third-floor window of an Odisha hotel he was staying in. Authorities and the Russian Embassy are treating it a suicide case. And a few months ago, this rich Russian had criticised Putin's war in Ukraine, because of course!

What the hotel owner said: "First tourist was found unconscious, after medical examination he was found dead. Second tourist was mentally disturbed after his friend's cremation, he was found lying on hotel premises. When taken to hospital, he was found dead," the owner of hotel Sai International in Rayagada, where the Russian tourists stayed, told the media. 

The story: Russian multi-millionaire Pavel Antov, 65, was found dead in a pool of blood at a hotel in Odisha's Rayagada district on Saturday, December 24.

  • Reports say he fell from the terrace of the hotel and died. 
  • However, The Sun reported the Russian consul general Alexei Idamkin "insisting" that Antov fell out of a third-floor window.
  • Pavel Antov was in Odisha for his 66th birthday celebrations. 
  • Antov was travelling with 61-year-old Vladimir Bidenov, his associate, and a couple, Mikhail Turov and Natalia Panasenko. They were also accompanied by an Indian tourist guide, Jitendra Singh, from Delhi.
  • Interestingly, his associate Vladimir Bidenov was found dead in the same hotel just two days before Antov's fall to death. 
The hotel where the Russians were staying. Photo: Facebook
  • Bidenov was also cremated in Odisha after his death, giving rise to the question of why his body wasn't sent back home.
  • The Russian Embassy told NDTV that they haven't found any connection between the two deaths or any foul play. 
We are in constant contact with the relatives of the deceased as well as with local authorities. As far as we know, police do not yet see a criminal component in these tragic events.
- Russian Embassy to NDTV
  • Authorities are suspecting a case of suicide as they believe Antov was "depressed" after his associate's tragic death. 

Who was Pavel Antov? Now, there's more to the story than just a rich Russian and his friend dead at a hotel. 

  • Pavel Antov was no ordinary man. He was a multi-millionaire and a politician, an MP from Vladimir Oblast. 
  • In fact, Antov belonged to the pro-Putin United Russia party, the largest political party in Russia. 

  • So, there's no doubt Antov was a pro-Putin man and politician.
  • But… there's always a but! But, Pavel Antov had criticised Russian air strikes in Ukraine as 'terror' in June this year. 

He had posted on social media: 

A girl has been pulled out from under the rubble, the girl's father appears to have died. The mother is being pulled out with a crane - she is trapped under a slab. To tell the truth, it is extremely difficult to call this anything other than terror.
- Pavel Antov (translated from Russian)
  • He soon retracted the comments calling them a misunderstanding and a technical error. 
  • Pavel Antov was reportedly the Vice-President of a sausage company, Vladmirsky Standard. 
  • He was also reportedly listed as Russia's richest elected politician in 2019. 
  • Antov was in Odisha reportedly celebrating his birthday. He had come to the hotel with three others (Russians) and an Indian guide on a tour. 

Pavel Antov is not the first high-profile Russian to have died a mysterious and sudden death. In September this year, oil boss Ravil Maganov died after falling to his death from the sixth floor of a hospital in Russia. He was reportedly on antidepressants.

Coincidentally, he died on the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin was visiting the hospital. He too had criticised Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The questions still unanswered:

  • Why was Pavel Antov, a Russian MP and a multi-millionaire (Russia's richest elected politician at that!), travelling to parts of Odisha which are not even on the tourism map of India? (The group was to travel to the Koraput district for Pavel Antov's birthday... Koraput is a Naxalite area.)
  • The hotel this (understandably rich) group checked in into, is called Sai International. The tariff at this 3-star hotel is around Rs 2,500/night. The couple booked one room for themselves. Why were Pavel Antov and Vladimir Bidenov in one room? (surely Rs 2,500 more a night would have meant peanuts for a Russian oligarch!)
  • Why was Vladimir Bidenov's body cremated in Odisha instead of being expatriated to Russia, when the person was a Russian national?
  • Pavel Antov’s body was also cremated by the local police, on December 25, say reports. The same question arises here too: why was a multi-millionaire lawmaker’s body not sent back to Russia?



Last updated: December 28, 2022 | 00:24
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