Bloodthirsty ‘mob boss’ Putin killing Russian elite to cling to power as 39 die
VLADIMIR Putin is presiding over a “mafia” state where murder is a tool used to defeat his enemies and to scare his uneasy allies into keeping in line.
Experts believe the deaths of at least 39 high profile figures – ranging from oligarchs to scientists and even generals – could show the shadowy and bloodstained hand of the Kremlin.
Dozens of high profile figures have died since Putin launched his bloody war in Ukraine over a year ago – with many in odd circumstances, such as sudden “suicides” and falls from windows.
Sergey Grishin – the so-called “Scarface” oligarch who sold Meghan and Harry their California mansion – died this week from sepsis after criticising Putin.
And meanwhile Russian scientist Andrey Botikov – who created the “Sputnik V” vaccine – was strangled with a belt in his apartment last week.
Both men were two of the latest to join the staggering body count of high profile deaths of people linked to Mad Vlad.
Jon Sweet, a retired US Army Military Intelligence Officer, and Mark Toth, a national security analyst, described Putin as running “modern-day FSB version of Murder Inc.”
Murder Inc. was an organised crime group that operated in the US – and is believed to have been responsible for more than 1,000 contact killings in the 1930s.
“Anyone seen as a potential threat seems to have an attraction to an open window,” Sweet told The Sun Online.
Putin’s regime of course has never admitted to anything – and has always dealt with the deaths of their enemies with a wry smile.
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But the pile of bodies however has appeared to have grown at an alarming rate of the last 12 months.
The Sun Online totalled up at least 39 deaths since January 2022.
And while not all the deaths will involve the hand of Vlad – with some having more prosaic or tragic explanations – all eyes remain on the Kremlin.
Professor Anthony Glees, an intelligence expert from the University of Buckingham, told The Sun Online that the murder of his enemies – and his allies – is just “course of conduct” for Putin.
And he points to a key moment in the last year that could explain the uptick in mysterious deaths, with Putin raging in March 2022 about there being “Fifth Columnists” in Russia.
“Fifth Columnists” is a broad brush term to refer to enemies within nations – with Mad Vlad going onto say there are “scum and traitors” that need to “purified” and “killed” within Russia.
Is this raging, venomous speech delivered in the early days of the invasion tantamount to a confession that explains many of the mystery deaths since?
Possibly – but it’s impossible to know for sure.
Putin comes from a background of cloak and dagger – having served in the Soviet Union’s brutal secret service, the KGB.
It is here where Putin learned his “murderous thinking” – and it is an institution which has in principle survived at the top of the Kremlin.
When the Vlad first came to power – being handed the reigns by Boris Yeltsin on eve of the millenium – it essentially placed the secret police back in charge of Russia, explained Prof Glees.
Death is always there to remind Putin’s cronies of their duties.
Professor Anthony Glees
“There are two kinds of victim, as far as we can tell: those who are opposed to Putin’s Ukraine policies, frequently involved in big Russian corporations,” explained Professor Glees.
“And those who Putin believes have double-crossed him, oligarchs from the world of business who have taken the money but not done his bidding, whether kept cash not meant for them, or opposed him politically, or perhaps both.”
“The big question for analysts is whether these killings are ‘political’ murders of political opponents who might be plotting to get rid of Putin, or ‘mafia’ killings designed to ‘encourage’ those who have taken Putin’s gold not to stray, to understand that they were given shed loads of money – which actually belongs not to Putin but the people of Russia – to do as Putin orders, not to spend on themselves.
“In my opinion, the two things are the same: Russia under Putin has become a state where political opponents can and will be killed and Russia under Putin is a mafia state, a network of foul criminals who believe that if they don’t hang together, they will ultimately hang separately.
“Death is always there to remind Putin’s cronies of their duties.”
Russia-linked deaths since the start of 2022
DOZENS of people in the Kremlin’s orbit have died since the start of 2022 – how many of them have been killed by Vlad and his cronies?
Leonid Shulman – January 30 – Gas boss – Found dead in his bathroom with suicide note
Igor Nosov – February 8 – Former governor – Died after suffering an apparent stroke in Moscow
Mikhail Watford – February 28 – Businessman – Found dead at his home in Surrey, UK – no evidence of crime found by cops
Alexander Tyulakov – February 25 – Gas boss – Found dead in his garage in suspected suicide in St Petersburg
Vasily Melnikov – March 23 – Medical firm boss – Stabbed to death along with his family in ‘murder-suicide’ in Nizhny Novgorod
Vladislav Avayev – April 18 – Gas boss – Found dead with gun in his hand alongside wife and daughter in Moscow
Sergei Protosenya – April 19 – Gas boss – Found hanged alongside his wife and daughter who died of axe wounds at villa in Lloret de Mar, Spain
Andrei Krukovsky – May 2 – Gas boss – Fell down a cliff to his death in Sochi
Alexander Subbotin – May 8 – Oil boss – Died of ‘drug induced heart attack’ during shamanic ritual in Moscow
Dmitry Kovtun – June 4 – Ex-KGB agent linked to Litvinenko murder – Died in hospital from Covid in Moscow
Dr Dmitry Kolker – July 2 – Laser scientist – Dies after being arrested for treason and being flown to Moscow
Yuri Voronov – July 4 – Shipping chief – Shot dead in swimming pool in Leningrad
Dan Rapoport – August 14 – Investor & Putin critic – Died after falling from a 9-story high rise in Washington DC
Darya Dugina – August 20 – Daughter of ‘Putin’s Rasputin’ – Died in car bombing in Moscow
Ravil Maganov – September 1 – Oil oligarch & Putin critic – Falls from balcony while smoking in ‘suicide’
Ivan Pechorin – September 10 – Gas boss – Found floating in the sea near Vladivostok
Vladimir Sungorkin – September 14 – Editor of Putin’s ‘favourite newspaper’ – Suddenly suffered stroke while on lunch and died in Khabarovsk
Anatoly Gerashchenko – September 21 – Aviation boss – Falls down “several” flights of stars and dies
Pavel Pchelnikov – September 28 – Railway exec – Found shot dead on his balcony in Moscow
Nikolay Petrunin – October 12 – Politician – Died from complications of Covid
Nikolai Mushegian – October 28 – Crypto boss – Drowned in swimming pool in Puerto Rico, US
Viktor Cherkesov – November 8 – Putin’s spy mentor – Dies after ‘serious illness’ in St Petersburg
Colonel Vadim Boyko – November 16 – Ukraine war mobilisation chief – Death ruled suicide despite being shot five times in Vladivostok
Vyacheslav Taran – November 25 – Crypto billionaire – Killed in helicopter crash in clear weather near Monaco
Vladimir Makei – November 26 – Belarusian foreign minister – Death ruled suicide by Minsk officials
Grigory Kochenov – December 7 – Tech boss – Fell to his death as police searched his flat in Nizhny Novgorod
Dmitriy Zelenov – December 9 – Real estate tycoon – Dies after hitting his head after falling down stairs in Antibes, France
Vladimir Budanov – December 22 – ‘Companion’ of Pavel Antov – Found dead in his hotel room in Odisha, India –
Pavel Antov – December 24 – Politician and businessman – Found dead in a pool of blood at his hotel just days after his friend Bidenov
Alexander Buzakov – December 24 – Shipyard chief – Died after attending unveiling a new submarine – no cause of death
General Alexei Maslov – December 25 – Tank firm boss – Suddenly fell ill and dies after Putin cancelled visit to factory in Uralvagonzavod
Vladimir Nesterov – December 28 – Disgraced rocket engineer – Cause of death undisclosed in Russia
Magomed Abdulayev – January 6 – Former regional leader – Mown down by car in Makhachkala
Dmitry Pawochka – January 26 – Space boss – Burned alive in his apartment in Moscow
Major General Vladimir Makarov – February 14 – Police chief – Found shot dead in ‘suicide’ at his apartment in Moscow
Marina Yankina – February 16 – Defence official – Found dead after falling from window of 16-storey high rise in St Petersburg
Viatcheslav Rovneiko – February 22 – Oil boss – Found unconcious at his home in Moscow
Andrey Botikov – March 3 – Sputnik V scientist – Strangled to death at his home in Moscow
Sergey Grishin – March 6 – ‘Scarface’ oligarch – Dies in hospital of sepsis in Moscow
Many of the deaths are particularly strange – but then get ruled as “suicide” and quickly swept under by the Russian authorities.
Colonel Vadim Boyko was shot five times in his office.
Despite being left riddled with bullets however, the military chief’s death was deemed as self inflicted.
And then there is the mysterious case of Pavel Antov, who died alongside his friend Vladimir Budanov.
The duo both died while Antov, a millionaire sausage tycoon and politician, was celebrating his birthday at a hotel in Odisha, India.
Budanov – described as Antov’s companion – was found dead in his hotel room.
And then just days later the tycoon was found dead in a pool of blood having apparently fallen from the hotel.
His death came just days after he criticised Putin’s war in Ukraine.
And then in the space of just one month three businessmen – Vasily Melnikov, Vladislav Avayev, and Sergei Protosenya – died alongside their families in a trio of apparent “murder-suicides”.
Toth told The Sun Online: “The Kremlin, absolutely, is the connective tissue behind Putin’s modern-day FSB version of Murder, Inc. when it comes to the propensity for Russia’s elite ‘falling’ out of windows, conveniently dying of ‘heart attacks’, or committing ‘suicide’.
“We can’t know exactly how many, but most of these deaths are not people dying from natural causes or self-harm.
“Lightning can strike twice in the same place, but in Russia, it has struck upwards of 35 times.
“Why are we sure it is the FSB?
“Because while there is nothing ‘quiet’ about the manner in which Russia’s scientists, key bureaucrats, oligarchs, and generals are dying, once disposed of, their cases quickly go as cold as a Russian winter.
“In other words, each in their own way, is intended as very loud messaging directed at some level of Putin’s mafia cartel, but the silence that follows these assassinations is indicative of just how expertly they are planned and executed.”
He went on: “The Kremlin wants the Russian public to know each of these men has died, but they don’t want Putin fingered for it – at least openly.
“Putin wants and needs his death sentences to be served cold.
“He does not want his victims to see it coming. Rather, Putin uses the fear that it may come at any time as a means of suppressing dissent.
“Putin’s game, therefore, is different from most mafia structures. He is, in effect, willing to murder his way down to get to the men he wants in charge.
“By making murder a one-way street that goes in the opposite direction of the Kremlin, Putin insulates himself.”
Professor Glees explained this power pyramid built on foundations of murder is what is keeps Putin at the top – and why it means he is unlikely to be ousted anytime soon, even as he fails in Ukraine.
He compared him in no uncertain times to Adolf Hitler in 1945 – who remained securely in power until the Allies were marching on Berlin.
“Was Germany prior to Hitler’s death ‘stable’? Sadly, yes,” Professor Glees told The Sun Online.
“Putin knows this and will take heart from it: after all, Hitler was defeated by the military might of his enemies, not by the hand of his own people who remained loyal to the last.
“In other words, his mafiosi conduct, killing and threatening, may seem to him not a sign of instability but proof that he can do what he wants with Russia.
“It is this that makes him so dangerous.”
Toth and Sweet added: “20th century history tells us it is hard to get rid of dictators and Putin is no exception.
“That makes gauging his position tricky. Hitler, after all, survived up until a month before the [World War 2] ended and likely could have survived longer had he shifted his HQ to his Bavarian redoubt.
“In my opinion, Putin’s ability to survive is likely equal to his capacity to keep murdering ‘down’.”
They added: “No one part of his mafia-like cartel is strong enough to get rid of him – and that’s by design.”
Putin’s war in Ukraine continues to grind forward – with the Russian’s making small gains in the country’s East.
Kyiv continues to call for Western support to help them defeat Putin, who has so far lost more than 150,000 soldiers.
Vlad foolishly believed his forces would be welcomed into Ukraine as liberators when he invaded last February.
But instead the initial attack ended in a disaster which saw his forces devastated and thrown back to Russia.
Moscow’s war machine however continues grind forward as they unleashed a new barrage of missiles this week.
All eyes are now on the city of Bakhmut – the backdrop of the bloodiest battle of the war.
President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that if the city falls, the road will be open once again into Ukraine.