When People Are Pieces: Putin Keeps Dropping Pawns

Barry Gander
6 min readNov 4, 2022

The good news: Anatoly Karpov is waking up.

Karpov, a Russian politician and former chessmaster, was placed in a medically induced coma after a mysterious “fall” last week.

Anatoly Karpov made the mistake of saying that he is against the war in Ukraine.

He has publicly called for the end of the war in Ukraine. He reportedly told a TV station in Kazakhstan: “I wish [the war] would end sooner, so that peaceful people would stop dying. In the end ordinary people are the victims. Ordinary people fight, politicians and generals decide, and ordinary people fight, civilians die.”

Karpov was diagnosed with a closed craniocerebral injury and a fracture of the left femur.

Russian state news agency TASS reported that there “was no attack” on the politician after speaking to one of his assistants. The assistant also claimed that Karpov actually suffered “no injuries” from the fall…yet he went to the hospital and has to be put in a coma. Andrei Kovalyov, chair of the All-Russian Movement of Entrepreneurs, suggested it was the work of an unknown attacker. He wrote on Telegram: “I hope the scoundrel will be found.”

No assault…but he was put in a coma.

So here we are.

He almost joined — and might yet join — a list of colleagues who died under odd circumstances:

- Oil tycoon Ravil Maganov, 67, “fell from a window” at a Moscow hospital. His company Lukoil had criticised the war in Ukraine.

- Novatek deputy chairman Sergey Protosenya, 55, was found dead in Spain — with his wife and daughter found dead in their beds with axe wounds.

- High-profile Russian business executive Ivan Pechorin, 39, fell off the side of a boat and his body was found two days later.

- Gazprom executive Alexander Tyulakov, 61, died in February this year and a note was found next to his body.

- Newspaper editor Vladimir Sungorkin, 68, suffered a stroke and suffocated while on his way to lunch

- Oil billionaire Alexander Subbotin, 52, died from a “drug-induced heart attack” during a shamanic…

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Barry Gander

A Canadian from Connecticut: 2 strikes against me! I'm a top writer, looking for the Meaning under the headlines. Follow me on Mastodon @Barry