Denis Zubov brutally murdered his girlfriend, her lover and a 73-year-old pensioner (Picture: E2W)
A serial killer who cut off his victims’ body parts is among the thousands of depraved convicts Vladimir Putin has freed to bolster his forces.
Denis Aleksandrovich Zubov was sentenced in 2017 to 21 years in a maximum-security jail for murdering three people over a nine-month period.
His release was carried out in secret – and can only now be revealed after anti-Putin journalists in Russia discovered his grave and tracked down a death certificate.
The headstone states he died at the age of 42 in April 2023 – the month after the Kremlin allowed 5,000 violent criminals to fight for Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner mercenaries in Ukraine in exchange for pardons.
Zubov, who previously worked as a farmhand, began his killing spree in 2013 after discovering his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child, 27-year-old Natalia Ravdina, was dating a new man, 63-year-old Valery Malnik.
He waited until Malnik was alone and smashed his head into the ground before stabbing him in the heart.
A court heard Zubov cut off Malnik’s genitals as revenge for ‘violated male honour’ and ‘threw the severed penis and scrotum into a shipping canal’ in Volgograd.
Zubov’s frenzy was sparked by a jealous rage over his ex Natalia Ravdina (Picture: E2W)
A few days later, Zubov followed a 73-year-old woman, killed her with a knife and wrench and cut off her breasts.
He carried out the second attack purely to make the murderers look like the work of a ‘maniac’ and throw police off his scent, jurors were told.
Zubov then got back together with Ravdina – who was unaware of his crimes – but she broke off the relationship again nine months later.
He lured her into a forest and reportedly strangled her and buried her body before going into hiding for two years.
His release was only uncovered after independent journalists found his grave (Picture: Dozor)
It’s possible Zubov was sent to fight for Prigozhin as ‘cannon fodder’ (Picture: AFP)
At the time of Zubov’s death, Russia was throwing infantrymen to their deaths in brutal trench battles over the city of Bakhmut.
Putin’s drive to recruit reservists was struggling as rumours of their poor odds of survival on the front line reportedly spread from soldiers speaking to their families.
The known prisoner release deals require convicts to fight for six months in exchange for having their criminal records completely wiped clean.
It’s thought most of the prisoners allowed to fight in Prigozhin’s forces died in the fighting around Bakhmut, although some made it long enough to be pardoned.
In November, one of five men convicted of murdering prominent journalist and Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya was pardoned after serving six months in Ukraine.
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Denis Zubov, who brutally murdered his girlfriend, her lover and a pensioner, was secretly released from a maximum-security jail.