Death of anti-Putin activist a 'great tragedy', says queen


Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has described the death of a Russian anti-Putin activist found dead in a Rotterdam deportation centre last week as “a great tragedy”.

In brief but unusually personal comments, the queen – who received a letter from Aleksander Dolmatov’s mother asking for her help “as a mother of three children” in establishing how her son died – also described his case as “complicated”.

Dolmatov (36), a member of the Other Russia party, fled Moscow in June after anti-Putin demonstrations. His bid for political asylum in the Netherlands was rejected and he was found dead, apparently after committing suicide.

His mother and close friends suggested his death had been prompted by threats by the Russian secret service.

Speaking in Singapore, Queen Beatrix said she was aware of the contents of a six-page letter found in Dolmatov’s belongings and addressed to his mother.

She added the authorities were “very committed” to establishing what had led to Mr Dolmatov’s death.

Deputy prime minister Lodewijk Asscher described the queen’s comments as no more than “factual observations” – reflecting “the shock of the Dutch government”.