He had urged a journalist to leave the country as soon as possible: “I can’t do it anymore, they took my passport away”
Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education Pyotr Kucherenko died under still unclear circumstances, after falling ill on Saturday, on the plane taking him back to Russia from Cuba, together with a government delegation. Since the beginning of the war, 13 members of the business world have died by suicide or for unexplained reasons, six of them employees of two of the country’s main energy companies.
“Kucherenko fell ill on the plane on which he was returning, together with the Russian delegation, from a business trip to Cuba. The plane landed in Mineralny Vody, where doctors intervened but Kucherenko could not be saved”, the ministry announced, in a meager statement published on the site. The autopsy will be carried out tomorrow, the Zvezda TV channel announced. The family assumed a heart attack. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said today, answering questions from reporters, that he was unaware of the deputy minister’s death.
The well-known journalist Roman Super, who fled abroad shortly after the start of the invasion, announced on his Telegram channel that he spoke with Kucherenko “a few days before leaving the country”. Kucherenko she had told him she was afraid for his life and encouraged him to leave. “Save yourself, and save your family. Leave the country as soon as possible. You can’t imagine the degree of brutality in our country. In a year, you won’t recognize Russia. By leaving, you’re doing the right thing,” she told him.
“For me, it is no longer possible to leave Russia. They took our passports. And there is no place willing to welcome a Russian deputy minister after this fascist invasion,” she told him, adding that she was taking anti-depressants and tranquilizers. “handfuls, even if it doesn’t help me much”. “I sleep hard. And I feel very bad. We’ve all been taken hostage. No one can say anything. Otherwise, they’ll crush us like cockroaches.”