Russia Lawmaker Who Died In Odisha Was A Putin Critic. What Embassy Said

Vladimir Bidenov and Pavel Antov were part of a four-member group of Russian tourists.

New Delhi:

The Russian embassy today said the Odisha police haven’t yet found any criminal link in the death of two of its citizen at the same hotel in the state within two days. Pavel Antov and Vladimir Bidenov died at the same hotel in Odisha’s Rayagada district two days apart, according to local media reports, triggering suspicions of a hit-job, as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s critics have died in similar ways in Russia as well.

Notably, Pavel Antov, who was a lawmaker in Russia, had recently sent out a message criticising Russian attacks on Ukraine, but had later retracted the statement, according to several reports. He died after falling from the third floor of his hotel, two days after his fellow traveller was found dead there.

Pavel Antov, 65, was found lying in a pool of blood outside the hotel on Saturday, police said, adding that they suspected it to be suicide as Mr Antov was reportedly depressed after his friend’s death.

Vladimir Bidenov, Mr Antov’s co-traveller, was found dead at the same hotel on December 22. He was found lying unconscious in his room on the first floor of the hotel, with a few empty wine bottles around him.

When rushed to the district hospital, doctors declared him dead.

“We are aware of the tragedy that happened in Odisha, where two of our citizens died. One of them is Pavel Antov, member of the Legislative Assembly of the Vladimir Oblast. We are in constant contact with the relatives of the deceased as well as with local authorities. As far as we know, police do not yet see a criminal component in these tragic events,” the Russian embassy in India told NDTV.

Vladimir Bidenov and Pavel Antov were part of a four-member group of Russian tourists, who, along with their guide Jitendra Singh, had checked into the hotel in Rayagada town on Wednesday.

On Pavel Antov’s death, a senior police officer said that it seemed to be a case of suicide, news agency PTI had reported, quoting a police office.

“Pavel was in depression due to the death of his friend,” he said.

Two other members of the group were asked to stay back and coordinate with the investigation, the officer said.

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