A critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin was found dead with his throat slit and multiple stab wounds in a hotel room in France. Described as 'politically motivated' by the Police, the incident occurred last week in the European city. The 44-year-old blogger from Chechnya, who was an outspoken critic of Putin and Chechen chief Ramzan Kadyrov, had acquired political refugee status and was living in Belgium. under the police protection because of "threats out of Russia and Chechnya over his opposition blogging," the French police told international media.
Working under a pseudo name Mansur Stariy, Aliev was just one of the bloggers facing similar threats from Moscow in the European Union and the UK. The blogger's body was found in the French hotel room with a knife next to him on January 30. Aliev's travel companion reportedly disappeared after the murder.
Back in July last year, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was moved from jail to a hospital after his physician raised suspicions of a possible poisoning after he suffered facial swelling and a rash while in custody. In a blog post written in detention, Navalny said he may have been exposed to an unknown chemical agent while in custody. Navalny recalled how his face started to become swollen on Saturday and it worsened the next day: “I got up in the morning, and when my cellmate saw me, he said: ‘You need to see a doctor now.’"
Similar incidents have occurred in the past, wherein critics have been found poisoned or dead, thus raising suspicion among the international community. A pro-democracy activist Vladimir Kara-Murza was poisoned on two occassions--in 2015 and 2017. Alexander Litvinenko, an agent for the British secret service died in 2006 after allegedly ingesting polonium-201 in a restaurant with an ex-KGB contact. The British government had then stated that he was probably poisoned by the Russian government.
A Russian Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was shot dead in 2015 near Kremlin, raising suspicion towards the Putin government. Oligarch and former Putin's aide Boris Berezovsky was found hanged outside his London mansion back in 2013. An investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who exposed the atrocities of the Russian government during a war was gunned down in 2006 in her Moscow apartment.
(With AP inputs)