Mysterious Russian oligarchs’ deaths proof of ‘worried’ Putin ‘trying to get back control’

Russia: Expert on mysterious oligarch deaths

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A series of mysterious deaths of Russian oligarchs have been reported in Russia and abroad since Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine. Some bodies were reportedly found hanging and others killed their families before taking their own lives, according to investigations. While the exact death toll remains unknown, reports of strange deaths have been piling up. To The Daily Beast’s World editor Nico Hines, those killings are a clear sign that Putin is growing concerned.  

Speaking to France 24, Mr Hines said: “I think if we can take the evidence of these people being bombed off, that suggests that Putin’s worried.

“He’s trying to get control of the influential people within Moscow, and it suggests that there are whispers and rumours of people who potentially might try and stop Putin.

“So, I would take it as good news, not obviously for the families. And you know, these are the risks that you take if you decide to become an oligarch in Russia.”

When the invasion started on February 24, Russia’s powerful and influential oligarchs were seen as the solution to stop Putin. The misunderstanding of the Kremlin’s inner workings was clarified by experts like Ben Judah, the author of “Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In and out of Love with Vladimir Putin”.

Mr Judah told Vox oligarch’s influence in the Kremlin has been shrinking over the last two decades under Putin’s regime: “That’s how Russia operated 15 or 20 years ago, not how Russia operates today.”

Controlling oligarchs was one of Putin’s promises in his first election bid in 2000. Twenty years later, Putin has a track record of arresting and censoring oligarchs. The same applies to his political opponents, with Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny being one of the latest opponents put into jail.

Mr Hines continued: “As far as I’m concerned, most of these are probably assassinations by people in the FSB.

“I don’t know whether it would’ve been directly orders of the Kremlin.

“I think anytime Putin is pumping off. I mean, you know, these are not outspoken critics.”

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“These are generally people who have been part of the inner circle, and I think that question that we asked at the very beginning of the conflict was always: could the oligarchs somehow talk Putin down? What the threat to their wealth in this war might bring on? Would that get there and to try and pull him back from the brink?

“Obviously, they failed to do that. I think if we can take the evidence of these people being bombed off, that suggests that Putin’s worried.”

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