Putin Critic Is 2nd Russian To Die in Odisha Hotel in 48 Hours | What We Know

Pavel Antov was found dead on 25 December in an Odisha hotel, 2 days after his colleague, Vladimir Bidenov.

What We Know
3 min read
Hindi Female

Elected Russian politician and sausage tycoon Pavel Antov died under mysterious circumstances in a hotel in Odisha's Rayagada on Saturday, 24 December, two days after his co-traveler was found dead in the same hotel.

Cause of death: The police indicate that the billionaire died by suicide, falling from the third floor of the hotel.

Addressing media persons in the coastal state, Director General of Police (DGP) Sunil Kumar Bansal said that Antov took his own life by jumping from the hotel window.

Why this matters: Just 48 hours ago, Antov's colleague, Vladimir Bidenov, was found dead after allegedly suffering a heart stroke.

The two were among four Russian tourists who had reportedly checked into the hotel on 21 December after visiting Daringbadi in the state's Kandhamal district.

An official said that Antov was "very upset" over the death of Bidenov, his fellow tourist and roommate, The Indian Express reported.


What Is the Entire Matter?

Antov and his three friends, Bidenov, Mikhil Turov, and Panasenko, had come to Odisha on a tourist visa to celebrate the former's 66th birthday.

They were accompanied by a guide named Jitendra Singh, who hails from Rajasthan.

The group had checked into the Hotel Sai International in Rayagada on 21 December, according to the police. The next day, Pavel told the hotel staff that Budanov was lying unconscious in his room "with a few empty wine bottles around him," after which he was found dead.

"The initial post mortem report confirmed heart attack to be the reason behind the death of Bidenov, though the details will be ascertained once the final report comes," the police said.

The police cremated Bidenov on 24 December in the presence of three other Russians, including Antov.

That same evening, Antov's death was reported, and he, too, was cremated following clearance from his family through the Russian Embassy, the police said, as per The Indian Express.

Why the Deaths Are Controversial

The deaths have triggered much speculation as Antov was a well-known critic of the Kremlin regime, and also of Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

In June, Antov had slammed the Russian government for missile strikes against Ukraine.


"A girl has been pulled out from under the rubble, the girl’s father appears to have died. The mother is being pulled out with a crane, she is trapped under a slab. To tell the truth, it is extremely difficult to call this anything other than terror," he had said in a post on social media.

However, he later deleted the post after facing backlash, saying that it was an "unfortunate misunderstanding” and a “technical error”.

How Has Russia Reacted To the Deaths? 

The Russian Embassy in New Delhi said that they were aware of the "tragic demise" of the two Russians in Odisha, adding that Antov was indeed a member of the Vladimir Region Legislative Assembly.

In a statement the ambassy said, "The Consulate General of Russia in Kolkata is following the case in touch with local authorities. According to information available to the police, no criminal aspect is seen."

Vladimir Kiselyov, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in Vladimir, also reacted to the news, saying:

He (Antov) was valued both for his professionalism and for his personal qualities — delicate, intelligent, respectful of everyone, a man of broad outlook and erudition, he won everyone over. For the legislative assembly, for the entire Vladimir Region, the death of Pavel Genrikhovich Antov is difficult and an irreparable loss.”

Where does the investigation currently stand? As per the DGP, two separate cases of 'unnatural deaths' have been registered and the Crime Branch is probing the matter.


Additionally, autopsies of both the bodies have reportedly been completed and the Russian authorities are in touch with the concerned teams in Kolkata.

However, the Odisha police said that there did not seem to be any foul play in Antov's death.

"There is no foul play. While Bydanov died of heart attack, Antov most likely jumped from the roof of the hotel terrace. But the district police is investigating the exact cause of death, and the CID (criminal investigation department) will assist district police in the probe to find out the circumstances leading to their death," DGP Sunil Bansal was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

Other strange details: It also remains to be answered why a Russian businessman chose India's Rayagada to celebrate his 66th birthday.

Latest in a string of deaths of Russian oligarchs, Antov's demise comes after at least nine Russian multi-millionaires passed away this year.

(With inputs from The Indian Express and Hindustan Times.)

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Topics:  Russia   Putin 

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