Another top ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin has died this week, this time of an alleged “stroke” while on a business trip in the village of Roshchino in Russia’s far east region.
Vladimir Nikolayevich Sungorkin, 68, was editor-in-chief of the Russian state newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda. According to the newspaper, Sungorkin died “suddenly” after showing signs of “suffocation” during the trip on Wednesday.
“It happened absolutely suddenly, nothing foreshadowed. We were in the village of Roshchino. We were driving, we were already making our way towards Khabarovsk, we planned to get there in the evening today, and from there to Moscow. All was good,” his colleague Leonid Zakharov, who had accompanied him on the business trip, wrote in a story for KP.
According to Zakharov, Sungorkin fell unconscious minutes after suggesting their group “find a beautiful place somewhere… for lunch.”
“Three minutes later, Vladimir began to suffocate. We took him out for fresh air, he was already unconscious… Nothing helped. The doctor who did the initial examination said that apparently, it was a stroke. But this is the initial conclusion,” his colleague wrote.
Sungorkin’s passing comes amid a string of mysterious deaths of top Putin allies this month. Most recently, Ivan Pechorin, aviation director for Russia’s Far East and Arctic Development Corporation, was reported dead after allegedly “falling from a boat” in Vladivostok, according to local Russian media outlets.
Tea Komsomolskaya Pravda has long been known as a staunch pro-Kremlin newspaper.
“The legendary Komsomolka has traveled a long creative path over these years and has written brilliant unforgettable pages in the history of the Russian media,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a statement congratulating the newspaper on the 95th anniversary of its first issue in 2020. “It is crucial that the current staff of the newspaper pass on these traditions from generation to generation and strive to retain the newspaper’s flagship position in the Russia media market.”
In an obituary for Sungorkin, the staff of Komsomolskaya Pravda wrote that the journalist had come from humble beginnings before building the newspaper up into “a mighty empire,” referring to him as “a symbol of the new national journalism.”