Lawmaker joins list of high profile Russians to die suspiciously

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Another a high-ranking Russian lawmaker was fatally shot in broad daylight outside a hotel in Kiev earlier this week, bringing the death toll to eight Russian politicians who have died under mysterious circumstances over the past five months.

Former Russian politician Denis Voronenkov, who fled Russia last October and openly criticized President Putin’s government, was killed on Thursday at the Premier Palace Hotel in an apparent assassination.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko immediately went on record saying Voronenkov’s suspicious death has the “handwriting” of Russian special services on it Thursday. He added that the politician’s murder was “an act of state terrorism on the part of Russia, which he was forced to leave for political reasons.”

Russian authorities are denying the claims.

Voronenkov’s slaying was one of eight recent deaths involving Russian diplomats, some of which were deemed to have occurred by natural causes and were exempted of foul play, while others are still under investigation.

Regarding the cases still under investigation, conspiracy theories continue to abound, some raising questions about whether any of the deaths were related to Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, reports CNN. No evidence has been unearthed to support the speculation.

Below is an overview of the eight recent deaths of Russian officials — and one near fatality this week:

  • Denis Voronenkov, 45, fatally shot on Thursday outside a hotel in Kiev after he and his wife openly opposed Putin and left Russia for Ukraine in October.
  • Vitaly Churkin, 64, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, pronounced dead on Feb. 20 of an alleged heart attack. He was reportedly “in his office fulfilling his duties” at the time of his death, according to the Russian mission at the UN.
  • Russian ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, 67, died on Jan. 26 after a short illness and it was declared there was nothing “special or extraordinary” about the circumstances of his death, says a spokeswoman for the Russian embassy in New Delhi.
  • Andrey Malanin, 54, a senior diplomat at the Russian embassy in Greece, was found dead in his apartment early on Jan. 9 after not showing up to work for several days. Reports suggest Malanin died from natural causes, but an investigation remains active.
  • Oleg Erovinkin, 61, who had close ties to Russian intelligence, was found dead in his car in Moscow on Dec. 26. No official cause of death has been released.
  • Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, 62, was shot at close range by a gunman while speaking at an art exhibition on Dec. 20. The shooter, a Turkish police officer yelled, “Do not forget Syria” during the assassination.
  • The same day as Karlov was assassinated, Petr Polshikov, 56, a senior Russian diplomat, was fatally shot in the head in his Moscow home, says a Moscow newspaper. He was reportedly found by his wife in their bedroom with a pillow over his head. A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry called Polshikov’s death “an accident [which] had nothing to do with his official government duties,” according to REN-TV.
  • The morning of the recent U.S. election, Sergei Krivov, 63, was found unresponsive inside the Russian consulate. CNN reports that Russian consular officials claimed Krivov fell from the rooftop but later said the cause of death was a heart attack and bleeding in the chest area according to a New York City medical examiner.
  • Earlier this week, private Russian lawyer Nikolai Gorokhov, 53, reportedly fell from the fourth floor of his Moscow apartment. He was discovered near death with “severe head injuries” and remains in ICU.

H/T: CNN

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