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Russian pop star who criticized Putin found dead from drowning

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Kremlin/Released)
March 23, 2023

The founder of a Russian music group known for criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin was recently found dead at the age of 35 after drowning in an icy river.

Dmitry Svirgunov – better known as Dima Nova, founder of pop group Cream Soda – fell through Volga River ice alongside four of his friends Sunday night. Svirgunov’s body was later found and identified, according to a Telegram post from state news agency RIA Novosti.

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Cream Soda is known for a satirical song about a so-called “aquatic disco” room located in a billion-dollar mansion allegedly owned by Putin. The mansion was the subject of a widely-watched 2021 investigative documentary called “Putin’s Palace: History of the World’s Largest Bribe.”

The song’s chorus has been sung at Russian protests since its release in 2021, including at rallies that came to be known as “the all-Russia aquatic disco parties,” according to the Moscow Times.

The band confirmed the incident in an Instagram post, writing on Monday, “We had a tragedy last night,” according to a translation.

Svirgunov’s 25-year-old brother, Roman, and their 28-year-old friend, Georgy Kiselev, also fell through the ice, Meduza reported. On Instagram, Cream Soda identified two others who fell through as Gosha Kiselev and Aristarchus, according to the translation.

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The band said that Gosha was also confirmed to have died. Its last update on Instagram said that rescuers were still searching for Aristarchus and Roman.

The group fell through the ice in the village of Dievo-Gorodishche about 160 miles northeast of Moscow, according to Meduza. Foul play is not reportedly suspected.

The incident follows a string of unusual deaths among Russian businessmen and officials since the Ukraine invasion began in February 2022. The Atlantic reported that around two dozen Russian notables have died under mysterious circumstances in what it described as “Sudden Russian Death Syndrome.”