When a plane carrying Russian warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin plunged out of the sky in pieces on Aug. 23 near Moscow, suspicions immediately turned to the Kremlin. Prigozhin’s brief mutiny in June to protest President Vladimir Putin’s handling of the war in Ukraine was an obvious motive for this suspected act of revenge.
After all, it would not be the first time someone crossing swords with Putin has wound up dead under mysterious circumstances. In some cases, these assassination plots are befitting a Hollywood spy thriller involving masked enforcers with silencer-equipped handguns, executives falling from high places, and even a Cold War-era nerve agent inside a perfume sprayer.
The message from Putin regarding these mysterious deaths and attempted assassinations could be summed up by the words of 19th century writer and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson: “When you strike at a king, you must kill him.”
This list, ordered chronologically by the time of assassination or attempted assassination, is by no means comprehensive. There have been several other deaths in recent years of Russians who have criticized their country’s war in Ukraine. For example, businessman and Russian exile Nikolai Glushkov was strangled in his home on March 18, 2021 in an incident that London investigators said involved a “third-party.”
This list of some of the most high-profile assassinations or suspicious deaths of Putin critics includes journalists investigating corruption or human-rights violations committed during the Second Chechen War. Also on the list are left-leaning politicians, former Russian intelligence operatives living in the U.K., and the president and first lady of Poland.
Here are the most notable suspicious deaths, assassinations, or attempted murders of Putin critics.
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