Russian sausage magnate-turned-lawmaker Pavel Antov died in India on Saturday after falling from the third floor of his hotel, according to the Indian police.
Antov’s death came after his friend and travel companion Vladimir Budanov died of a heart attack on Antov’s 65th birthday, two days earlier, Vivekanand Sharma, a senior police official in India’s northeastern Odisha state, said Tuesday.
Budanov was 61 years old and had a preexisting heart condition, Sharma said.
Police believe Antov died by suicide after falling from the third floor of his hotel in the Rayagada district, although the postmortem report has not been released yet, Sharma said. He said the case had been ruled an “unnatural death,” which includes deaths resulting from accidents and suicides.
According to Russian state news agency TASS, Antov, who was a businessman and member of a regional parliament in the Vladimir region in western Russia, had celebrated his 65th birthday on December 22.
In 2018, Antov topped the Forbes ranking of the 100 richest civil servants in Russia. His income in 2018 amounted to about 9.97 billion rubles, according to Forbes Russia.
He was a member of the Russian parliament’s United Russia party, which was formerly headed by Vladimir Putin and is still staunchly supportive of the Russian President.
Antonov pledged his support for Putin last June when he was forced to deny having posted an anti-war message on WhatsApp. He blamed an “unfortunate misunderstanding and a technical error” and said the status had been deleted.
Sharma said the Russian embassy had been contacted and procedures followed. Permission had been given for cremation of the bodies of both men, he said.
Russian Consul General in Calcutta Alexey Idamkin told Russian state media RIA Novosti on Monday that the Odisha State Police and the Consulate General in Calcutta didn’t see anything suspicious in the death of two Russians in India.
“We are aware of the deaths of two Russian citizens. We are in touch with the relatives of these people and the police department of the city where it happened. We will provide the relatives of the deceased with all the necessary assistance in paperwork,” Idamkin told RIA Novosti.
At least a dozen high-profile Russian businessmen have reportedly died by suicide or in unexplained accidents this year, with six of them associated with Russia’s two largest energy companies.
Alexander Buzakov, the head of a major Russian shipyard that specializes in building non-nuclear submarines, died suddenly last week, with no cause of death given by the authorities, Reuters news agency reported.
Anatoly Gerashchenko, the former rector to the Moscow Aviation Institute, died in an unspecified accident in September, according to a statement from the institute.
Lukoil chairman Ravil Maganov died at the beginning of September after falling out of the window of a hospital in Moscow, according to TASS.
In mid-September, Russian businessman Ivan Pechorin, who was the top manager for the Corporation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, was found dead in Vladivostok, according to Russian state media. Pechorin drowned on September 10 near Cape Ignatyev in Vladivostok, regional media reported.
Another top Lukoil manager, Alexander Subbotin, was found dead near Moscow in May after reportedly visiting a shaman, TASS reported.
How to get help: In the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also can provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.