Sausage Tycoon Latest Russian Oligarch to Die


Hotel Sai International | Image by Hotel Sai International/Facebook

A Russian politician and sausage tycoon was found dead at a hotel on Christmas Eve in the Rayagada district of Odisha, India.

Pavel Antov was found on December 24 at the Hotel Sai International after reportedly falling from the third floor in what local police initially called a suicide. Antov had just celebrated his 65th birthday a few days earlier, according to the Russian state news agency TASS.

Antov was the founder of Vladimir Standard Meat Company. In 2019, Forbes Magazine estimated his fortune at $140 million, putting him at the top of the list of Russia’s richest lawmakers and civil servants.

As a legislator, Antov belonged to United Russia, the largest political party in the country. He had been accused of criticizing Putin’s invasion of Ukraine through a WhatsApp message but denied making the post, calling it a “frustrating misunderstanding.”

Antov’s body was discovered in a pool of blood two days after another member of his four-person traveling group died at the same hotel. Vladimir Bidenov was found lying on the floor in his hotel room on December 22. The cause of Bidenov’s death has been variously reported as a “heart attack” and “a stroke.”

Rajesh Pandit, the regional police chief, said Bidenov’s death could have been caused by binge drinking and a possible overdose, which resulted in a heart attack. Jitendra Singh, the group’s tour guide and translator, told reporters that Bidenov may have “consumed a lot of alcohol, as he had liquor bottles.”

Last Tuesday, Vivekanand Sharma, a senior police official in India’s northeastern Odisha state, said a postmortem report has not yet been issued, but authorities are ruling Antov’s death as unnatural.

“He was probably disturbed by the death of his friend and went to the hotel terrace and likely fell to his death from there,” said Pandit.

Odisha Police are continuing to investigate the two deaths “from all angles,” India Today reported.

At least a dozen high-profile Russian oligarchs have died since the invasion of Ukraine. In February, Gazprom executive Alexander Tyulyakov was found hanged in his garage in St. Petersburg.

On April 18, multi-millionaire Vladislav Avayev, a former Kremlin official and Gazprombank vice president, was found dead from a gunshot wound in his apartment in Moscow. Avayev’s wife and 13-year-old daughter were also found stabbed to death at the apartment.

One day later, Sergey Protosenya, a former chief accountant at Novatek, Russia’s second-largest gas producer, was found dead at a villa near Barcelona, Spain. Protosenya was found hanged at the scene, and his wife and daughter had been shot to death.

In May, Alexander Subbotin, a former Lukoil executive, was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

Another Lukoil executive, Ravil Maganoz, died when he fell from the sixth floor of a Moscow hospital on September 1. Later that month, Anatoly Gerashchenko, head of the Moscow Aviation Institute, died after falling down a flight of stairs.

Just before the Christmas holiday, Alexander Buzakov, the head of a shipyard producing warships and submarines for the Russian Defense Ministry, died “tragically,” according to TASS. No details or cause of death were provided.

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