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Mysterious deaths among Russian oligarchs are piling up

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Since the start of the Ukraine war, reports of alleged suicides by Russian oligarchs have increased. Most of the cases show strange parallels. What all deaths have in common: The circumstances are still unclear – and extremely questionable.

Two mysterious deaths of Russian oligarchs caused a worldwide sensation last week. Within 24 hours, Sergei Protosenya, ex-Novatek deputy, and Vladislav Avayev, a former Kremlin employee and Gazprombank deputy head, were found dead along with family members. The former in Lloret de Mar (Spain), the latter in Moscow. While the oligarchs’ wives and daughters appear to have been murdered, evidence suggests that the men themselves committed suicide.

Russian oligarchs: Mysterious deaths are piling up

However, Protosenya and Avayev are not the only Russians who have died under strange circumstances in recent months. Suspected suicides by Russian oligarchs have been increasing since the beginning of the war in Ukraine on February 24. 

An overview of four more deaths raises questions.

Leonid Shulman

Gazprom manager Leonid Shulman is said to have died in January before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He died accordingly in his house in Leningrad. According to the Russian “Gazeta”, Shulman left a note next to his body indicating a suicide. At the time, the 60-year-old was on sick leave. The company Gazprom itself wants to investigate the case, it said.

Alexander Tyulyakov

Gazprom Deputy Director General Alexander Tyulyakov was reportedly found dead at his country estate near St. Petersburg a day after the war began. Next to the 61-year-old’s hanged body, police found a note leading investigators to believe the oligarch had died by suicide, according to the Russian newspaper Gazeta. In this case, too, Gazprom wants to investigate itself.

Mikhail Watford

Ukrainian-born Russian Mikhail Watford was found dead at his home in Surrey, UK, on ​​February 28. He was the owner of various Russian energy companies. According to the Daily Mail, a gardener found him hanging in the garage of his home. The “BBC” reports that the police do not consider the circumstances of his death to be suspicious.

Vasily Melnikov

Vasily Melnikov, 41, is said to have worked for the Russian drug company Medstom. On March 24, according to reports from the Russian “Kommersant‘ was found dead in his luxury apartment in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia’s sixth-largest city. In addition to the dead man, his wife and their two sons were also found dead. Investigators concluded the billionaire killed his family first and then himself.

Totem’s ex-business partner: “Many think it could be an order”

In all six cases, the investigators basically assume a suicide. 

Russian gas tycoon Sergey Protosenya’s case in Spain is the only one where authorities used outside help in their investigations.

Accordingly, the family could have been murdered and the scene of the crime could have been staged in such a way that it looked like suicide.

A Spanish business partner of the dead man does not believe that Protosenya could have murdered his family. 

In an interview with RTL he said: “Many here think that it could be an order.”

Protosenya’s son: “He would never have harmed them”

Protosenya’s son, who was in France at the time of the events, is of a similar opinion. The 22-year-old told Britain’s Daily Mail: “My father is not a killer. He loved my mother and especially Maria my sister. She was his princess. He could never do anything to harm them. I don’t know what happened that night but I know that my dad did not hurt them.”

Relatives of the other dead oligarchs also publicly expressed their doubts about the circumstances of their deaths. 

Nevertheless, these will probably remain unclear for the time being.

Image Credit: Getty

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