Lieutenant General Vladimir Sviridov, a former high-ranking Russian air force commander, and his wife Tatiana were found dead under enigmatic circumstances at their home in Adzhievsky, Stavropol. This incident has raised suspicions, given Sviridov's past criticisms of President Vladimir Putin's management of Russia's air force.
The couple, aged 68 and 72 respectively, were discovered deceased in their bed, having been dead for about a week. Baza, a popular Russian Telegram channel, reported that no signs of violence were found at the scene and no harmful substances were detected in their home. The cause of death remains unknown, although there is speculation about carbon monoxide poisoning due to a malfunctioning gas valve during a power outage in the village.
Major General Vladimir Popov, an acquaintance of Sviridov, expressed his sorrow over the general's death, describing it as an "absurd death" and a loss for someone of such stature. The Investigative Committee of Russia has initiated an inquiry into the deaths, which have been deemed mysterious by local sources.
Sviridov, who commanded Russia's 6th Army of the Air Force and Air Defense from 2005 to 2009, was known for his outspoken critiques of the Russian air force. In a 2007 interview with Take Off magazine, he lamented the inadequate training of pilots and the appointment of underqualified officers due to a lack of better candidates. These comments reportedly led to his removal from his commanding post.
The general's death is the latest in a series of suspicious fatalities among Putin's critics since the onset of the war in Ukraine. Notably, Wagner Group mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin was killed in a mysterious plane crash in August, just three months after leading a mutiny against Russia's military brass.
Since Putin's rise to power in 1999, several businessmen, political opponents, and journalists critical of his policies have met untimely ends or experienced near-fatal incidents. The pattern of these incidents has often led to speculation about the involvement of the state in silencing dissent.
The demise of Sviridov and his wife adds to the growing list of unexplained deaths surrounding Putin's adversaries, further intensifying the climate of fear and suspicion among those who dare to speak out against the Kremlin.