A lawmaker in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Magadan, who was implicated in a high-profile poaching case, has been found dead with gunshot wounds.
The Investigative Committee’s directorate in Magadan told RFE/RL on December 20 that Aleksandr Kramarenko’s body was found in his office late in the evening the previous day.
According to the directorate’s officials, investigators are interviewing Kramarenko’s relatives, colleagues, and possible witnesses and analyzing recordings of CCTV cameras.
The local office of the ruling United Russia party refused to comment on the situation.
In June, the Investigative Committee launched a probe against Kramarenko after a photo taken in Chukotka, one of Russia’s most remote northern regions, was posted on Instagram.
The photo showed Kramarenko holding a hunting rifle and standing in the middle of a snowy field where what appeared to be almost 200 dead wild birds were arranged to spell out the words “Chukotka 2021” and a heart shape. Another photo shows the birds arranged in the shape of a pyramid.
Investigators said at the time that the damage caused by Kramarenko’s alleged poaching of rare geese had been estimated to be around 700,000 rubles ($9,400).
The 59-year-old lawmaker insisted then that the picture was altered and the person in it was not him, but then changed his statement later, saying that the birds in the picture were actually stuffed dead birds preserved for a hunting school.