A huge criminal empire has collapsed. I think these deaths are a combination of suicides, paypack, people killing potential witnesses, and finally, yes, revenge.
Oleg Kalashnikov, the former member of parliament, was shot and killed shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday at the entrance to his apartment block. Kalashnikov, 52, was a member of the Party of Regions, the former ruling party in Ukraine, and was close to Yanukovych. Police are investigating the death as a murder.
A day later, on Thursday, journalist Oles Buzyna, 45, was killed near his home by shots fired from a dark blue Ford Focus, Interior Ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said. The car’s license plates were reported to have been from either Latvia or Belorussia.
The killings renewed speculation, sparked by earlier unusual deaths, about a conspiracy to kill people close to Yanukovych. At least three former members of parliament with the Party of Regions have reportedly committed suicide in the last seven weeks:
• On February 28, Mikhail Chechetov reportedly jumped from the window of his 17th-floor apartment in Kiev, having left a suicide note. He was suspected of having falsified the results of a parliamentary vote in early 2014 that essentially prohibited protest just as thousands of people were protesting against the Yanukovych government.
• On March 9, Stanislav Melnik, a former member of parliament with the Party of Regions and the manager of several businesses in the separatist-minded eastern city of Donetsk, was found dead in his apartment near Kiev. He, too, reportedly left a suicide note.
• And three days later, on March 12, Oleksandr Peklushenko, another former member of parliament, was found in his house in Zaporizhzhya, in southeastern Ukraine, dead of a gunshot wound. Police are investigating various scenarios, including suicide. Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko said Peklushenko “might have wanted to avoid punishment for using violence against protesters, which he was suspected of.”