Russia: Actor Critical Of Putin Found Dead, Police Claim Politics Not Involved

Russian Actor

A well-known actor from Russia, Aleksei Devotchenko, has been found dead in his rented apartment in northern Moscow.

Radio Free Europe says that Russian media quoted law enforcement sources who said the Russian actor’s body was found lifeless on November 5. The Russian sources said that they suspected his death was of a “criminal nature” — a phrase often used by police to indicate that politics were not involved. The idea that authorities would have to use a phrase to denote the un-involvement of the government in the death of a citizen speaks to the wariness the people have for that government.

Since the initial death announcement, Russian police have flooded the media with reports that the 49-year-old actor “may have” suffered a heart attack and that there were signs that Devotchenko was drinking.

Devotchenko had been a staunch critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking out publicly against the then-prime minister in 2010 and asking Putin to resign. In a post on his popular blog, Aldevot, the Russian actor told his colleagues to stop being so “servile” to Putin’s government and to refuse work offered by the Russian state.

“Of course, many of you will ask: ‘How are we going to earn a living? You know what they pay in theaters that aren’t servile to the authorities.’ I know – 7,000 to 10,000 rubles a month maximum. I also know that for 10 minutes at some sort of Kremlin party you can earn as much as you’d make working in a theater for a year. I also know that many of you will shrug and say, ‘Money doesn’t stink.’ Well, I think this money DOES stink – it smells of dank prison cells, of neglected hospitals and homeless shelters, of the acrid smoke of burnt-out architectural monuments and historical buildings and night clubs and homes for the elderly. It smells of the boots of the OMON riot police.”

A year later, in 2011, Devotchenko renounced two state awards he’d received for acting, as well as the high honor of his designation as a “Distinguished Russian Artist.”

Devotchenko isn’t the first notable person in Russian to be found dead after being critical of Putin’s Russia. Hundreds of Russian journalists have either died or gone missing under suspicious circumstances since Putin originally took office, including famous journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, who was murdered on October 7th, 2006. Most of those people who have been targeted have been directors of regional TV and radio stations, reporters, editors, and correspondents. In fact, so many journalists have been killed in Russian since the early 90s that there is now an entire Wikipedia Page dedicated just to journalists killed in Russia.

What do you think? Is the death of the Russian Actor Aleksei Devotchenko the result of another Putin plot, or is it just a coincidence? Sound off in the comments section below.

[Image via Business Insider and Cinemagia]