© The Siberian Times Daria Kuchuk, Igor Pavlov with his parents Alexander and Tatiana in UK.
Daria Kuchuk, 35, born in Omsk, had followed her mother to Scotland in search of a new life, but her quest ended in tragedy.

Our exclusive pictures show Daria - who was an academic high achiever in Siberia, Moscow and at Oxford University in England - with her long-time boyfriend Igor Pavlov, 27, from Moscow. The couple died from cyanide poisoning after checking into a $500 a night room at The Scotsman five star hotel in Edinburgh, one of the best in Scotland.

It was close to a flat they shared near the Royal Mile in the heart of the Scottish capital. The couple died on 1 August but these are the first pictures of the couple, obtained by The Siberian Times. They show the couple with Igor's parents several years ago in the UK. In one, they are posing with the wax models of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at tourist attraction Madame Tussauds.

Family friends of 35 year old Daria (Dasha) from Siberia spoke of the 'appalling shock' of her death and the 'waste of such a brilliant mind'.

'They were not officially married but it is known that they lived together as partners for a considerable time,' said a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry press centre in Moscow. 'As far as we know neither of them had children'.

The Ministry has gleaned its information through official channels from Scottish police.
© The Siberian Timesaria Kuchuk, Igor Pavlov with his parents Alexander and Tatiana in Madame Tussauds museum, UK.
'Both had been living in the United Kingdom for several years. And both had permanent residence in UK', said the spokesman. 'British police are convinced it was suicide and we have no reason not to trust their judgement. It is known that a final note was left at the scene and the reason for suicide was given as follows - they failed in starting a business in UK and faced serious financial difficulties because of this. This is not a quote from the note but just the explanation.

'We know that both bodies have been cremated already. We also know that Igor Pavlov's parents are in Scotland now, they came to pick up the casket with the ashes.

'Daria's parents will come to collect her ashes some time later'.

Both Daria and Igor were seen as talented and creative young people by those who knew them. Daria hailed from the historic city of Omsk in Siberia where a friend who had known her since childhood said she graduated from the foreign languages faculty of the city's university.

She and her mother Nadezhda (Nadia), a former teacher now in her mid-50s, both later gravitated to Moscow, with Daria graduating from the highly-respected Surikov Art Institute.

Her mother's relationship with her father Sergey had broken down and she would later meet and wed Scots surveyor Duncan McLaine-Campbell, now believed to be 70. The couple have since moved from Scotland to France but have not commented on the family tragedy.

In Moscow, Daria met Igor, 27, eight years her junior, who had pretensions as a musician and was a fan of a Russian punk group. One picture shows him at a concert given for other fans at his home.

He was from a 'good family' with father Alexander believed to work for a metals company in Moscow.

Daria's mother was still 'too distraught' to speak at her home in France, according to a friend. 'Nadia is very upset, she cannot even talk about it,' said a friend. 'It is weighing so heavily on her. It has been an appalling shock.'

One friend of the family in Russia said: 'Dasha went to Edinburgh separately from her mother after she had been to Oxford.

'I just want to stress, I feel the reason behind this tragedy relates to him. I don't understand, why she dedicated all her time to him and his business rather than finding her own way. It maybe that she loved him so much.

'I know Nadia was upset that Dasha did not work. She only helped him. I remember her as a really clever girl, very good, nothing bad at all.

'You could say she was unearthly, with her head in the clouds'.
© The Siberian Times
The friend was told that the failed business venture, which apparently left the couple in dire financial straits, was related to films.

'It was something very odd. He wanted to sell old films, which seemed like complete nonsense to me. It was clear he would fail with this', she said.

'Meanwhile Dasha did not work using her skills. She spent all her time helping him with this shop.'

The friend added: 'As far as I know she had never married before meeting Igor. I don't remember any great love story before him.'

A suicide note at the scene had failed to give Daria's family the answers they sought, said the friend.

'Police have a suicide note, but it does not really say anything to them,' she claimed.

A source close to the family said of the tragedy: 'I suspect that Igor was initiator. I cannot believe it was her idea. Of course, I cannot know exactly and life is so unpredictable. It was horrible. Everything had been good for them.'

Another source in Omsk said: 'She was a clever woman. This is a waste of such a brilliant mind. I don't understand how things got so bad for her.'

Mother and daughter had left Siberia and found their way in the West 'but then something went wrong for Daria in Edinburgh', said a family friend.

A diplomat at the Russian consulate in Edinburgh said neither family wished to speak on the deaths.