Russia's Putin holds talks with China's Xi in Moscow


  • Shkurko was arrested last month on allegations that he accepted a $6,000 bribe
  • Local officials described Shkurko's death as a suicide
  • 39 other Russian oligarchs and prominent figures have died since the Ukraine war began

Another oligarch has died a mysterious death, making him the 40th Russian magnate or official to have died since President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Igor Shkurko, the 49-year-old deputy general director of the Russian energy company Yakutskenergo, was found dead in a Siberian prison cell Tuesday in what local officials described as a suicide. Shkurko had been in the prison cell since March 30 when he was arrested on suspicion of accepting a bribe worth about £5,000 ($6,220), per The Sunday Times.

Shkurko reportedly submitted appeals against the "unjust" bribery allegation Monday, the day before his body had been found.

Shkurko, who was previously a member of the pro-Putin United Russia Party, is now one of the many unexplained deaths that occurred in Russia since the war in Ukraine began. Experts believe there have been at least 39 deaths prior to Shkurko that involved high-profile Russian figures, including oligarchs, scientists, generals and Kremlin officials.

Sergey Grishin, for instance, died of sepsis on March 6 in Moscow at the age of 56. Prior to his death, Grishin criticized Putin and the invasion of Ukraine. He was a financial fraudster and oligarch known for selling Harry and Meghan their California mansion.

On March 1, Andrey Botikov was found dead after being strangled with a belt by a man he had an argument with. Botikov was a virologist who helped developed Russia's COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V.

In February, former KGB spy Viatcheslav Rovneiko was found unconscious at his home in an elite gated village in Moscow. He was one of the founders of Urals Energy and had business interests linked to the U.K., Belgium, Luxembourg and Cyprus, per

Also in February, Marina Yankina, the finance director of the Western Military District, was found dead after falling 16 stories from the window of an apartment building in St. Petersburg. Her death was believed to be a suicide.

In December 2022, Russian real estate tycoon Dmitry Zelenov was found dead after taking a tumble down the stairs and falling from the railing while dining with his friends in France.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visiting Mariupol
Russian President Vladimir Putin visiting temporarily occupied Mariupol KREMLIN.RU/Reuters