Suspicious Russian deaths since October 2021
Suspicious deaths are listed in reverse chronological order, with dates that reflect the reported date of death or, when not available, the date of reporting in a newspaper of record. The number in parentheses reflects the number of people who died. In multiple cases, the “suicide” was preceded by the murder of a spouse and a child or children. The death events that included family annihilation were from mid-March to mid-April and appear to have been consecutive.
- Nov 9, 2022 - Viktor Cherkesov (potential, to be determined based on death circumstances) (1)
- Sept 13, 2022 - Ivan Pechorin (1)
- Sept 1, 2022 - Ravil Maganov (1)
- July 6, 2022 - Yuri Baranov (1)
- May 9, 2022 - Alexander Subbotin (1)
- May 4, 2022 - Vladimir Lyakishev (1)
- May 3, 2022 - Andrei Krukovsky (1)
- April 19, 2022 - Sergei Protosenya (3)
- April 18, 2022 - Vladislav Avayev (3)
- March 23, 2022 - Vasily Melnikov (4)
- February 28, 2022 - Mikhail Watford (1)
- February 25, 2022 - Alexander Tyulakov (1)
- February 8, 2022 - Igor Nosov (1)
- January 30, 2022 - Leonid Shulman (1)
- December 27, 2021 - Yegor Prosvirnin (1)
- October 19, 2021 - Kirill Zhalo (1)
Eleven of the sixteen people who were possibly targeted had ties to the energy industry. The Corporation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic lost two executives.
Lukoil lost two executives. Five of the suspicious deaths involved someone with ties to Gazprom. Six deaths involved a fall of some kind, such as falling off of a cliff, off a boat, or out a window. At least three death events involved the killing of an entire family. In this subset, two had ties to Gazprom. Two of the three death events took place in Russia and the other in a “Catalan town.”
Nov 9, 2022 - Viktor Cherkesov (potential, to be determined based on death circumstances) (1)
Viktor Cherkesov, an old associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the former chief of the Federal Drugs Control Service (FKSN), has died at the age of 72.
Lawmaker Aleksandr Khinshtein announced the passing of Cherkesov on Telegram on November 9. He did not mention the cause of death. Cherkesov served as a KGB officer in Putin's native St. Petersburg during the Soviet era and later led the Federal Security Service (FSB) directorate in that city.
Tragic news: Colonel-General Viktor Cherkesov , former head of the drug control service and presidential envoy to the Northwestern Federal District , died tonight at the age of 73 .
Sept 13, 2022 - Ivan Pechorin (1)
Ivan Pechorin, 39, was the managing director of the Corporation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic and died on Saturday (10 September) near Russky Island, around 5,800 miles east of Moscow. According to Newsweek, Pechorin worked on ‘modernising aviation in eastern Russia’ and ‘developed resources in the Arctic in light of heavy sanctions.’
Ivan Pechorin's body was found washed up around 100 miles from Vladivostok in Russia's far east on Monday after a two-day search, local outlet VL.ru reported. Pechorin fell off his moving boat on September 10 as it sailed near Russky Island, the outlet reported. He was the Aviation Director for Russia's Far East and Arctic Development Corporation (KRDV), which described his death as an "irreparable loss."
Sept 1, 2022 - Ravil Maganov (1)
67-year-old Ravil Maganov, previously the head of Lukoil - Russia’s second-largest oil company - fell to his death from a Moscow hospital. At the time, it was alleged he’d also been beaten. Prior to his death, Maganov said he was opposed to the invasion of Ukraine.
The chairman of Russia's Lukoil oil giant, Ravil Maganov, has died after falling from a hospital window in Moscow, reports say. The company confirmed his death but said only that Maganov, 67, had "passed away following a severe illness".
Russian media said he was being treated at Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital and died of his injuries.
Maganov is the latest of a number of high-profile business executives to die in mysterious circumstances.
July 6, 2022 - Yuri Baranov (1)
Yuri Baranov, 61, had a point-blank gunshot wound to the head, and a Grand Power pistol was found nearby in his villa outside St Petersburg, local outlet 47news reported. Two spent shell casings were found at the bottom of the pool, per the outlet.
It is the fifth death of a Gazprom-linked executive in recent months and one of numerous deaths of high-level executives linked to the Russian energy industry.
The company Voronov founded, Astra Shipping, specialized in contracts in the Arctic from the state-controlled gas corporation, according to 47news.
Security footage reviewed by police showed that nobody had entered or left the villa since July 1, the outlet reported. That day, Voronov left his St Petersburg home to head to the villa and had been drinking heavily for two weeks prior, his wife told the outlet.
She alleged that he had run into trouble with dishonest contractors, 47news reported, without naming any specific company. Records reviewed by the outlet showed the company had high debt levels in 2020 and 2021.
There has been a grim catalog of Gazprom-linked deaths recently, some of which have been cast as suspicious by family members and colleagues.
August 16, 2022 - Dan Rapoport
The mysterious death last week of a prominent critic of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in Washington’s West End neighborhood is drawing fury from some of the Kremlin’s best-known global detractors — but scant notice in Washington, where police say they don’t suspect foul play was behind Dan Rapoport’s fall from a luxury apartment building on the night of Aug. 14.
“I think the circumstances of his death are extremely suspicious,” says Bill Browder, the formerly Moscow-based American financier who became a crusader for sanctions after the killing of his Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky. Browder got to know Rapoport in Moscow years ago, before they both fell out of favor with the Russian regime. “Whenever someone who is in a negative view of the Putin regime dies suspiciously, one should rule out foul play, not rule it in.”
According to a Metropolitan Police Department incident report, officers responding to a call about a jumper found the 52-year-old Rapoport’s body on the sidewalk. He was wearing orange flip flops and a black hat and had a cracked phone, headphones and $2,620 in cash on him, but no wallet or credit cards. The police say the case remains open, even without a suspicion of foul play. As is standard for suspected suicides, a medical examiner’s report — which would typically reference medical or other records, include a toxicology screen and incorporate X-rays and other posthumous forensics to determine if there was a struggle before the fall — is pending.
May 9, 2022 - Alexander Subbotin (1)
“Jamaican voodoo rituals”
According to Russian media, Russian oligarch Alexander Subbotin died under mysterious circumstances at the house of a shaman over the weekend.
Subbotin, the former top manager of Russian energy company Lukoil, is the latest of several Russian oligarchs to die in a suspicious manner amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
He was found dead in the basement of the home of a shaman in Mytishchi, a city just northeast of the capital city Moscow, on Sunday after suffering an apparent heart attack, Russian media outlet TASS reported. A criminal case into his death has been opened.
The billionaire allegedly went to the shaman's home "in a state of severe alcoholic and drug intoxication the day before" his death, a source told TASS. His body was discovered in a room of the basement reportedly used for "Jamaican voodoo rituals."
May 4, 2022 - Vladimir Lyakishev (1)
Vladimir Lyakishev, the 45-year-old former co-owner of the Bratya Karavayevi restaurant chain, was found dead on the 16th-floor balcony of the building where he lived, Russia’s RBC media group reported.
A source told RBC that Lyakishev was found with a gunshot wound to his head on May 4.
According to the 112 Telegram channel, the body of the 45-year-old man with gunshot wounds was found by his wife on the technical floor of the high-rise building where they lived. A Benelli shotgun was found nearby. The entrepreneur left no suicide note. The man's wife noted that in the last years of his life, the businessman got addicted to alcohol.
Lyakishev was a co-owner of the Karavaev Brothers Culinary Shop until 2019. Afterward, he was also engaged in the restaurant business and registered a new company a few months ago.
Vladimir Lyakishev's friends told Baza Telegram channel that he would often call them via video link and threaten to shoot himself.
May 3, 2022 - Andrei Krukovsky (1)
fell off of cliff
Andrei Krukovsky. The 37-year-old was the director of the ski resort Krasnaya Polyana, located near Sochi. Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to have repeatedly invited his guests to ski there. According to the Russian newspaper Kommersant, Krukovsky was out hiking on May 2 when he fell from a cliff to his death.
April 19, 2022 - Sergei Protosenya (3)
Sergei Protosenya — was found hanged, with his wife and daughter stabbed to death, Spanish TV channel Telecinco reported. His body was found Tuesday, Spanish outlet El Punta Vui reported.
He was found with a bloodstained knife and an ax at his side, Telecinco reported.
Protosenya was the former vice president and chief accountant of Novatek, a major gas company with close connections to Gazprombank.
He and his wife and daughter were staying in a rented luxury villa in Lloret de Mar, a coastal Catalan town, for the Easter period, according to Telecinco.
Police were alerted to the deaths when Protosenya's son, who was in France, raised the alarm after nobody picked up the phone, Telecinco reported.
A former top manager at Russian gas giant Novatek, Sergei Protosenya, his wife, and his daughter was found dead in a rented villa in Spain, local media reported on April 21.
The 55-year-old millionaire was found hanged, while his wife and daughter had been stabbed to death in a villa in the town of Lloret de Mar near Barcelona on April 19, police were quoted as saying. Police are said to be looking into two possible scenarios -- that Protosenya killed his wife and daughter and then hanged himself, or that someone killed the entire family and then staged the crime scene, the Spanish news site Telecino reported.
April 18, 2022 - Vladislav Avayev (3)
Vladislav Avayev, the former vice president of Gazprombank, was found dead of a gunshot wound in his Moscow apartment on Monday, Russia's state-run Tass news agency reported.
The Moscow investigations department did not name the victims in its public statement about the case, but Tass said an unnamed source confirmed their identities.
Investigators wrote in their statement that they are prioritizing a theory that Avayev shot his wife and daughter, and then himself.
The date was taken from Russian state reporting.
Vladislav Avayev, a 51-year-old ex-vice president at Gazprombank, was found dead in a Moscow apartment along with the bodies of his wife and daughter on April 18, Russian media reported.
Kommersant newspaper cited investigators as saying they believed Avayev, a well-known banker, had shot both of them before committing suicide.
March 23, 2022 - Vasily Melnikov (4)
Vasily Melnikov was found dead in his apartment in Nizhny Novgorod, Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on March 23.
The billionaire was stabbed to death, as were his wife and two sons, aged 10 and 4. Knives, believed to be the murder weapons, were found at the scene, the outlet said.
The police are investigating the theory that Melnikov killed his family and then himself.
Another Russian businessman, Vasily Melnikov, was found dead alongside his family in Nizhny Novgorod in late March, according to the Russian newspaper Kommersant.
Melnikov owned MedStom, a medical supplies company. According to Russia’s Investigative Committee, a 43-year-old man, his wife, 41, and two children aged four and 10 were found stabbed to death on March 23.
The committee did not name Melnikov, but the ages of the dead and the location of the incident match the Kommersant report.
The regional branch of the investigative committee has not updated the status of its investigation and did not return CNN’s request for comment. At the time of the incident, in March, it said there “were no signs of unauthorized entry into the apartment,” and “knives were found and seized.”
“[Investigators] are considering several versions of what happened, including the murder of the children and wife by the head of the family, followed by self-inflicted death,” the committee said.
February 28, 2022 - Mikhail Watford (1)
Mikhail Watford, a 66-year-old Ukrainian-born businessman, was found dead at a property in southeast England on Feb. 28, local media reported, citing police.
Surrey Police were quoted as saying that officers were not treating his death as suspicious but that an investigation was underway.
An investigation has been launched into the death of a Ukrainian-born oligarch in Surrey earlier this week.
Officers were called to a property in Portnall Drive, Wentworth, at about midday on 28 February.
Mikhail Watford, aged in his 60s, was pronounced dead at the scene.
An investigation into the death is underway, but Surrey Police said there were not believed to be any suspicious circumstances "at this time.”
February 25, 2022 - Alexander Tyulakov (1)
Alexander Tyulakov, a 61-year-old executive at Gazprom, was found dead in the garage of his St Petersburg home on Feb. 25, the morning after Russia invaded Ukraine, Russian media reported.
Neither Gazprom nor the region’s investigative committee issued any public statements about the death, which newspaper Novaya Gazeta described as an apparent suicide. The newspaper reported that people describing themselves as members of Gazprom’s security services cordoned off the scene. Reuters was not able to independently verify this report.
February 8, 2022 - Igor Nosov (1)
“We regret to announce the sudden death of Igor Nikolaevich Nosov, CEO of the Corporation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic,” the press service said.
The ministry expressed its condolences to Nosov's family and friends.
It is noted that Nosov has been the head of the Far East and Arctic Development Corporation since May 2021.
Igor Nosov, the company's former CEO, who was 43, reportedly passed away abruptly following a stroke in February, preceded him in death.
The Governor of the Khabarovsk Territory, Mikhail Degtyarev, expressed his condolences in connection with the death of the CEO of the Corporation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic (KRDV) Igor Nosov.
January 30, 2022 - Leonid Shulman (1)
60-year-old Gazprom's top manager Leonid Shulman was found dead in the bathroom of a cottage in the Leningrad region, next to a note that led police to believe he died by suicide, according to Gazeta and Russian media group RBC.
RBC reports that Gazprom Invest said it was investigating the death of Schulman.
"Our colleague, the head of the transport service, Leonid Aleksandrovich Shulman, has passed away. The circumstances are being investigated," RBC quotes the company saying.
Shulman, 60, served as the head of the transport service at Gazprom Invest, which handles investment projects for gas giant Gazprom. His body was found on Jan. 30 in the bathroom of a cottage in Vyborgsky district, north of Saint Petersburg, local news reported, citing a source.
A source told RIA news agency his death was believed to be a suicide. A local news portal reported that Shulman had been on sick leave due to a leg injury.
December 27, 2021 - Yegor Prosvirnin (1)
A Russian nationalist who criticized Vladimir Putin and predicted civil war fell to his death from a fifth-floor window in Moscow.
Yegor Prosvirnin, 35, from Vladivostok, Russia, was found naked 'under the windows of a residential building' on Tverskaya Street in the center of Moscow on December 27.
According to local media reports, he died before the ambulance arrived, and his wife Marina Urusova later confirmed his death.
October 19, 2021 - Kirill Zhalo (1)
A Russian diplomat has been found dead after falling from a third-floor window of Moscow’s embassy in Berlin.
Der Spiegel, which broke the news, identified the victim as Kirill Zhalo, 35, the son of a top Russian intelligence officer. German authorities believed Mr. Zhalo was a spy working under the cover of Second Secretary, the publication alleges.
Mr. Zhalo was found lifeless in pools of blood just after 7 am on 19 October.
It is unclear if he died before or during the fall. In line with standard protocol, there was no local police investigation or autopsy, and the body was taken away to Moscow the next day.