A little more than a month before his murder, Denis Voronenkov stated that he feared for his life and his family’s security because he had been “poking a sore spot of the Kremlin” with his criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin. During an interview in March 2017, he referred to the “demonization” inside Russia and stated, “the system has lost its mind. They say we are traitors in Russia. And I say, who did we betray?”
On the morning of 23 March 2017, Denis Voronenkov was shot and killed in Kyiv as he left the Permier Palace Hotel. Voronenkov was on his way to meet Ilya Ponomarev, another former Russian MP living in exile in Ukraine. Neither he nor his bodyguard saw a man in a gay sweat suit approach from behind. Voronenkov was shot at least three times, including in the head, and died instantly. The assailant was wounded by Voronenkov’s bodyguard – who was provided by the Ukrainian Security Service – and taken to a hospital, where, according to the authorities, he later died from his wounds.
CCTV Footage of Voronenkov’s Murder *GRAPHIC*
According to the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, the gunman carried a Ukrainian passport and had been sought by the police on fraid and money laundering charges. Anton Herashchenko, an official with Ukraine’s Interior Ministry and a Ukrainian lawmaker, identified the gunman as Pavel Parshov, a Ukrainian citizen and veteran of Ukraine’s volunteer paramilitary unit. He added that Parshov was planted by Russian services as an undercover agent in the National Guard of Ukraine. The Ukrainian National Guard corroborated that the perpetrator was Pavlo Parshov, a 28 year-old far-right Ukrainian nationalist and former member of the National Guard who was previously a suspect in a money laundering case. A police spokesman added that the murder was likely a contract killing.
Voronenkov was known as a sharp critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian policy towards Ukraine. In 2014, the Investigations Committee of Russia requested that Voronenkov be stripped of his legislative immunity from prosecution and a criminal case was opened against him over the seizure of a Moscow property. In an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in February 2017, Voronenkov compared Russia under Vladimir Putin to Nazi Germany under Adolph Hitler and called the Russian annexation of Crimea both illegal and a mistake. He described the atmosphere in Russia as characterized by a “pseudo-patriotic frenzy” and “total fear.” At the time of his death, he had been scheduled to testify against former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
In September 2017, the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office announced that Parshov and his associate were hired through Vladimir Tyurin, a Russian crime lord, by Oleg Feoktistov, a Russian FSB officer, to organize the assassination of Voronenkov. The investigation did not provide any evidence.
The Kremlin denied any involvement in Voronenkov’s murder. “We believe that all the falsehoods that can already be heard about much-hyped Russian involvement are absurd,” Reuters quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov as stating.
We remember Voronenkov on this day and continue to demand that our leaders’ push back against the campaign of rogue killings by the Russian government.