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Eastern Express 08.08

Anatoly Chubais, former deputy prime minister of Russia and advisor to Vladimir Putin, was taken to a hospital in Italy, suffering from what seemed to be a rare nervous system disorder before being released after successful treatment. Western media suggested this may have been a case of deliberate poisoning.

This year has seen a series of deaths of Russian oligarchs that have occurred under mysterious and unexplained circumstances. Some of them died along with their families. Some experts say that some of the alleged suicides look staged. How do Russians kill their own?

Mr Chubais’s hospitalisation, coming after he reportedly resigned from his post as a special representative to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin in March because he disagreed with Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine the month prior, had led to some speculation by Russian opposition activists that he might have been poisoned.

This, however, was hardly an isolated incident. Several opponents of Vladimir Putin’s rule have suffered from poisoning attacks, often outside Russia.

Strange cases of high-ranking executives linked to Russia’s hydrocarbon companies dying under suspicious circumstances began weeks before the invasion of Ukraine. Leonid Shulman, the head of the transport department at Gazprom Invest was found with his wrists slit in a pool in the village of Leninskoye on January 30.

Just a day following the invasion, Alexander Tulyakov, a top finance and security manager at Gazprom, was found hanged on February 25.

Some of them were found dead along with their families.

That was the case with Sergei Protosenya. The former deputy head of Russian gas giant Novatek was found hanged aged 55, in Spain on April 21. The body of Vladislav Avaev, 51, former vice president of Gazprombank was found with a gunshot wound in his multi-million dollar Moscow apartment on April 18. The former top manager of Lukoil Alexander Subbotin, 43, was found dead in Mytishchi, a city just northeast of Moscow on May 9 reportedly after being treated with toad venom by a Shaman to cure a hangover.

The causes of the series of deaths and their correlation remain in the realm of hypothesis and conjecture. It is hard to deny that there seems to be a rather mysterious pattern emerging here- and one that is consistent with events from Russia’s recent past.

To shed more light on the issue we were joined by dr Jacek Raubo, Analyst at

What’s more…

-Ukraine says it will receive tanks from North Macedonia. The tanks belong to the western Balkan country’s tank battalion, which is in the process of being upgraded. North Macedonia, an ex-Yugoslav republic, is a NATO member and candidate to join the European Union.

-Russia’s damage to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has caused Ukraine’s President to respond to what he referred to as acts of terror. The plant is Europe’s largest nuclear power station.

-Late last week, an appalling report on the war in Ukraine was published by Amnesty International. Over the weekend, the head of the organisation’s Ukraine office called it quits in response. Meanwhile, Amnesty’s secretary general remained defiant.

-Few believe Russia ever cared about the so-called liberation of the Donbas republics. Reports claim Moscow might conduct referendums in the area it occupies, attempting to annex more of Ukrainian territory.

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