Russian Official Dies Unexpectedly After Criticizing Putin’s War

( – The Russian government announced on Saturday that Russia’s Deputy Science Minister Pyotr Kucherenko died during a flight. His death raised suspicion among journalists and political analysts, considering that he was one of Russia’s main critics of the invasion of Ukraine. His death represents the latest fatality of many Russian prominent figures who have also criticized the war and have also died unexpectedly.

In a statement, the Ministry of Higher Education and Science said that the 46-year-old lawmaker “became ill” while he was on a plane from Cuba to Russia. The plane was carrying some Kremlin delegates, following a diplomatic mission to the Caribbean Island. However, the flight had to make an emergency landing because of Kucherenko’s health, with doctors failing to save him.

The statement pointed out that the ministry offered Kucherenko’s family and friends its condolences. While the ministry didn’t release his cause of death, state-controlled media outlet Zvezda said that his family linked his death to a severe heart condition. However, the media outlet pointed out a forensic examination will take place on Thursday.

Russian journalist Roman Super, who escaped from Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, said on a Telegram Sunday post he spoke with Kucherenko days before his escape. He explained Kucherenko told him to leave Russia to protect himself and his family. Super also said Kucherenko believed Russia was brutalizing itself to the point where it would be unrecognizable “in a year.”

According to Super, Kucherenko also wanted to escape, but it was impossible for him since authorities had confiscated his passport. Allegedly, Kucherenko told him that no country in the world “would be happy” to have a Russian official after “this fascist invasion.” 

The journalist also said on Telegram that Kucherenko was suffering from depression and was self-medicating with strong tranquilizers and antidepressants. Finally, he said Kucherenko was a “dear friend,” and explained that the lawmaker once told him that people who lived in Russia were all “hostages.”

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