#302: What Happened to Russia's Dead Oligarchs?

The perfect third-wave true crime podcast.

At the risk of ending up on a list somewhere, this week we dive into a peculiar phenomenon that seems to only afflict prominent Russian oligarchs: falling out of windows. While this might sound like over-dramatized hyperbole, there's a certain undeniable truth intertwined with a dark, dangerous pattern emerging in Russia: The more prominent you are as an oligarch, and the closer your ties to the Kremlin, the more your life — and the lives of your family — teeters on the edge of a first-story balcony.

Backdropped by the Ukraine war, more than a dozen Russian oligarchs died in the space of nine months. Many of their deaths are suspicious with links to the Kremlin. In the space of the year, more than a dozen rich Russian businessmen have died under either brutal or mysterious circumstances. Many fell out of windows, some had heart attacks, and a few even killed their whole families before committing suicide. The official line from Russian authorities is that most of these deaths were accidents or violent consequences of mental illness.

Sad Oligarch is an investigation into these recently dead Russian billionaires and episode one kicks things off by looking into the death of Vasily Melnikov.

At this point, it’s quite clearly a running joke and Jake Hanrahan even explains that Russians from all walks of life completely get that oligarchs in Russia tend to be neutralized by their own government fall out of the windows more often than any other demographic in the country.

Hanrahan and Sergiy Slipchenko manage to scratch an itch you didn’t know you had by delivering a podcast that is both gripping and timely – the perfect fit for what can best be described as third-wave true crime.

It encapsulates the essence of this strange yet all-too-real phenomenon, expertly narrated for listeners who crave mystery and the allure of current events. The podcast delves deep into the lives of these powerful individuals, connecting seemingly unrelated, tragic coincidences.

Sad Oligarch strikes a balance between topical relevance and the undeniable magnetism that surrounds these enigmatic figures. Connect the dots that bring about an edge-of-your-seat experience and give your brain the adrenaline rush of unraveling a reality that is entirely stranger than fiction.

Have a listen and share what you think.

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