Suicides, falls and shamans, the suspicious deaths of the Russian oligarchs

Maganov is the latest in a series of Russian top managers who died under mysterious circumstances. For many there was talk of suicides, for others of accidents. And there is also the alternative cure and heart attack treated with valerian.

Suicides, accidental falls, lethal consequences of an alternative treatment administered by a shaman. These are some of the causes of the suspicious deaths of Russian oligarchs in recent months. The chairman of the board of directors of the Lukoil oil company, Ravil Maganov, is just the latest in a series of Russian company executives who died under mysterious circumstances. Maganov fell from a window of the Central Clinical Hospital (TsKB) in Moscow.

Before him, on 6 July, the body of Yuri Voronov, head of Astra Shipping, a company with contracts with Gazprom in the Arctic, was found in the swimming pool of a property near St. Petersburg. According to the Moskovsky Komsomolets news site, a Grand Power pistol was found next to the body. The Russian investigative committee spoke of a “dispute with business partners” as the cause of the death of 61-year-old Voronov.

On January 29 last, in a dacha near St. Petersburg, Leonid Shulman, 60, top manager of Gazprom, formerly a manager of Gazprom Transgaz, died, committing suicide according to the conclusion of the investigation.

On February 25, in the same location, the lifeless body of 61-year-old Alexander Tyulyakov, deputy general manager of the Gazprom Unified Settlement Center, responsible for the company’s security, was found. He too had previously worked in Gazprom Transgaz. And even in this case, the police determined that the cause of death was suicide.

On April 18, former Gazprombank vice president and former Kremlin official Vladislav Avayev, his daughter and wife were found dead in Moscow, in a luxurious apartment on Universitetsky Prospect. According to the investigators’ version, Avayev shot his wife and 13-year-old daughter with a gun and then committed suicide.

On 21 April Sergei Protosenya, a former top manager of Novatek, his wife and daughter were found dead in Spain, in a house in the village of Lloret de Mar (province of Girona). Protosenya, who was found hanged in the garden of his Spanish villa, had a fortune of 400 million euros and lived in France. The family was in Spain for the Easter holidays.

At the beginning of May, Andrei Krukowski, the head of the Krasnaya Polyana resort, belonging to Gazprom, died near Sochi on the Black Sea, officially because he fell off a cliff. The Russian media spoke of an accident. Krukowski was 37 and his ski resort was frequented by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Also in May, billionaire Alexander Subbotin, 43, a former senior executive of the energy giant Lukoil, was found lifeless. The official cause of death was a heart attack caused, according to the investigation, by an alternative remedy administered by a shaman. The oligarch, who owned a profitable shipping company, was allegedly treated with toad poison, inserted into an incision that had been made on his skin. Soon after, Subbotin would have a heart attack and would be given a valerian tranquilizer to treat him.

On February 28, Ukrainian-born oligarch Mikhail Watford was found dead in Wentworth, Surrey, Great Britain, where he had moved in the early 2000s. Watford, who was 67, had made a fortune on oil and gas immediately after the collapse of the USSR. His death had taken place under unclear circumstances, the police had determined. His real name was Mikhail Tolstosheya. He had changed it when he arrived in Britain.