Deaths of critics
Many of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s critics have been killed in Russia since he came to power in 1999, including opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, journalist Anna Politkovskaya, human rights activist Natalya Estemirova, lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, and anarchist activists Anastasia Baburova and Stanislav Markelov.
During Putin’s presidency, over 30 military generals were also killed, committed suicide or died in mysterious circumstances. Some claimed that the deaths could have been linked to Kremlin efforts to get rid of witnesses of Russia’s aggression and war crimes in various countries, including Ukraine.
In 2013 exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, an archrival of Putin, was found hanged in his apartment in London. The investigation couldn’t conclude if it was a suicide or a murder.
In 2015, Mikhail Lesin, a former Russian minister and presidential aide, died in mysterious circumstances at Washington’s Dupont Circle Hotel.
In late 2016 to early 2017 seven Russian diplomats, including Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, died or were killed in various circumstances.
Finally, in 2016, a British criminal inquiry found that Putin “probably” ordered the 2006 polonium-210 poisoning that killed ex-Russian security service agent Litvinenko in London.