Two Russian officials serving as State Duma deputies with the ruling United Russia party died on Sunday, Newsweek reported. 77-year-old Nikolay Bortsov, who served as a State Duma deputy since 2003, and 57-year-old Dzhasharbek Uzdenov died on the same say, the report said.
While Mr. Uzdenov died after a “serious and prolonged illness”, Mr. Bortsov died at his home in the Lipetsk region on Sunday. No cause has been given for his death.
The twin deaths come as a number of prominent Russians have died in unexplained circumstances since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in February 2022. At least 20 Russians, including some high-profile people connected to Mr. Putin, have died in mysterious circumstances since the war began.
Notably, Nikolay Bortsov had previously been hit by sanctions from the United States and other Western countries following the Ukraine invasion.
He was one of Russia’s wealthiest government employees with an estimated net worth of $550 million, the report claimed, adding that he was included by Forbes in 2021 in a ranking of Russia’s 100 richest federal workers. The multi-millionaire MP had also secretly obtained the right to live in Britain, according to leaked data in 2019, Metroreported. However, he denied holding British citizenship and always maintained it wasn’t true.
Meanwhile, Dzhasharbek Uzdenov was a member of Russia’s house committee on Ecology, natural resources, and environmental protection. Like Mr. Bortsov, he too came under the US and New Zealand sanctions after the war began.
Vladimir Vasilyev, head of the United Russia faction condoled his death, saying ”Death snatched another comrade from our ranks.”
“Sensitive, attentive, strong-willed, always ready to help—this is how we will remember Jasharbek Borisovich. He fought for a long time, but, unfortunately, the disease turned out to be stronger. We will miss him very much,” he said.
Last month, a Russian musician who criticised President Vladimir Putin in his songs died after falling through ice while crossing a river, according to a report by New York Post. Notably, the artist had often criticised Mr Putin in his songs and his music was used as an anthem during anti-war protests in Russia.