Anti-Putin businessman’s apparent suicide to be investigated by DC police

Several Russian business executives have died of suspicious circumstances amid the onset of the Russian-Ukrainian War. 

 Dan Rapoport (18 September 2014). (photo credit: CANTSTAYAWAKE via WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Dan Rapoport (18 September 2014).
(photo credit: CANTSTAYAWAKE via WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

The apparent suicide of Latvian-American businessman and renowned Putin critic Dan K. Rapaport on Tuesday is being further probed by DC police.

Rapaport, 52, is said to have jumped to his death from his apartment window. He had his phone, car keys, nearly $3,000 in cash and a Florida driver's license in his possession at the time of his fall. DC police have said no foul play is suspected as of now.

Russian Tatler editor Yuniya Pugacheva originally reported the story on Telegram, adding that his dog was found in a nearby park with Rapaport’s suicide note.

Rapoport’s widow, Alena Rapoport, cast doubts on reports that her husband’s death was self-inflicted. “There were no suicide notes, no suicide, no trip to London, no breakup,” Alena told Russian news outlet RBC, explaining that Rapoport’s death was still being investigated by authorities.

Who was Dan Rapaport?

Born in Soviet-controlled Latvia, Rapaport was an investment banker known for his Soho Room nightclub in Moscow. Rapaport left Russia in 2012 after supporting Putin's adversary Alexei Navalny and being involved in protests against Russia’s 2011 election, which many in the country saw as illegitimate. 

 Dan Rapaport (left). (credit: FACEBOOK) Dan Rapaport (left). (credit: FACEBOOK)

Investigative journalist organization Bellingcat discovered in 2018 that Rapaport coordinated communications between Russian and Ukrainian media and supposed Pentagon official “David Jewberg” – who was really a man from Texas with no known ties to Russia or the Pentagon, but who was commonly cited as an expert on US-Russia affairs. 

Suicides linked to the Kremlin 

There have been numerous public figures linked to Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin who committed suicide under mysterious circumstances, leading to a belief that the Russian spy agency is assassinating political opponents and making their deaths look natural.

Former Kremlin spy turned Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko drank poisoned green tea in 2006, becoming the first in a string of suspected poisonings by the Kremlin – most notably Alexei Navalny. 

Several Russian business executives have also died of suspicious circumstances amid the onset of the Russian-Ukrainian War. 

On Feb. 25 – the day after the invasion of Ukraine – former Gazprom executive Alexander Tyulyakov, 61, was found dead from hanging in his home near St. Petersburg. Ukrainian-born Mikhail Watford was found hanged in his home in Surrey, England three days later, while billionaire Vasily Melnikov of Russian medical supply company MedStom was found dead in his apartment in Russia in March.