A former Putin ally-turned-war critic has been found dead in suspicious circumstances, the latest associate of the Russian dictator to die this year.
Pavel Pchelnikov, 52, an executive at the Russian-owned rail company, Russian Railways (RDZ) was found shot dead on the balcony of his Moscow apartment on Wednesday, September 28, Sun UK reports.
He reportedly killed himself, according to Russian media.
Just weeks earlier, he had shared sweet pictures from a family holiday.
“It is known that just a month ago, he was on vacation and willingly posted photos from his holiday on social media,” reported the outlet ‘We Can Explain’.
“What could have pushed the man to a desperate act is unknown.”
Russian Railways has reportedly come under pressure from the Kremlin recently over its failure to stop Ukrainian hackers from shutting down its network.
This has led to critical delays in supplies reaching the war front line.
The company was slapped with EU sanctions on February 27 in the early days of the war.
On April 11, the firm defaulted on a bond interest payment, the first sanctioned business to do so.
In July, the firm publicly called on the EU to lift the sanctions, claiming they were “limiting the ability of RDZ to perform socially significant, humanitarian functions and are discriminatory in relation to the population of the Russian Federation.”
The company also criticized the war in Ukraine after the firm’s website crashed following Putin’s mobilisation announcement, as thousands tried to flee the draft abroad.
The company was forced to issue a statement denying state media reports that men of fighting age must show their military service status before buying tickets.
Last week, Anatoly Gerashchenko, the former rector of the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI), died after reportedly falling down a series of flights of stairs on Tuesday.
According to reports, the 73-year-old aviation chief fell down “several flights of stairs” at the Institute and died at the scene.
Gerashchenko is rumoured to have fallen out with Putin’s inner circle, forcing him from his position as rector seven years ago.
Also, Earlier this month, Ivan Pechorin – Putin’s point man for developing Russia’s vast Arctic resources, reportedly fell off the side of a boat in waters close to Russky Island in mysterious circumstances.
A huge rally in Moscow on Friday, September 30, will see the declaration of victory in referendums in Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia, comprising 15 percent of the total Ukraine landmass.