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War in Ukraine: serial deaths among Russian oligarchs

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Since January 30, six Russian oligarchs close to the government have committed suicide in strange circumstances, fuelling various theories of settling scores against a backdrop of economic sanctions

Six multimillionaires or billionaires dead since January 30, less than a month before the start of Russian aggression in Ukraine. Curious suicides of Russian oligarchs in the UK, Spain and Russia are becoming increasingly bloody, reveals Newsweek: the last three, those of Vasily Melnikov (in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, on March 23), Vladislav Avaev (in Moscow on April 18) and Sergey Protosenya (in Lloret de Mar, Spain, on April 19), were accompanied by the death of women and children, killed by gunshot or stabbing.

Before them, Mikhail Watford, an oil billionaire found hanged on February 28 in the UK. Alexander Tyulyakov, found in Saint Petersburg on the 25th. Finally Leonid Shulman, a senior Gazprom executive, was found dead in his bathroom at the end of January.

The fall of the USSR and the arrival of a market economy had enabled them to become rich, especially in the field of raw materials. Some of them, at the head of strategic companies, had even established important relations with the top of the State, benefiting from the leniency of Vladimir Putin. But since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the oligarchs seems to have begun its decline.l

Hard hit by sanctions
First of all, it is a shower of economic sanctions that has fallen on them. The West, aware of the role played by this economic caste in keeping warlord Vladimir Putin in power, has hit them hard in the wallet. Goodbye financial assets, yachts, villas and cottages on European soil.

Since these six serial suicides, theories have flourished: a settlement of accounts between clans? Disguised purge at the top of the power? A macabre series of suicides that look like coincidences?

Each time, no trace of forced entry, doors locked from the inside, but some disturbing details, such as the eagerness of the Russian authorities to clean up the scenes of tragedy and validate the suicide thesis. Or the absence of blood traces on the body of Sergey Protosenya. The former CEO of Novatek, number 2 in the Russian gas industry just behind Gazprom, who lived in France, would have nevertheless, just before his suicide, killed his wife and daughter with an axe…

Murders disguised as accidents or suicides are a practice often mentioned in Russia, especially since the Soviet era, and its secret services have a strongly assumed know-how in this matter.

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