Russian construction magnate Dmitry Zelenov died on December 9 in Antibes, France. He is the second Russian oligarch to fall to his death from a flight of stairs in less than three months.
The number of oligarchs killed under mysterious circumstances after the invasion of Ukraine continues to rise. Within three months, four Russians close to the center of power died, two falling down the stairs.
The latest victim of these freak accidents with Russian oligarchs is Dmitry Zelenov, who fell down the stairs after having dinner with friends at a restaurant in Antibes, on the French Riviera. The 50-year-old construction magnate was taken to hospital but suffered serious head injuries. The death was announced by the prosecutor of the neighboring city of Graz.
According to the British press, Zelenov had undergone heart surgery a few weeks before the fatal accident. The tycoon, a co-founder of Don-Stroy, dominated the real estate market in Moscow and got rich young and fast.
The circumstances of Zelenov’s death are similar to that of Anatoly Gerashchenko, former director of the Moscow Aviation Institute (IAM), who fell down the stairs at his workplace less than three months ago.
“On September 21, Anatoly Nikolaevich Gerashchenko died as a result of an accident,” the company said in a statement. “This is a great loss to the IAM and the scientific and academic community,” the British press quoted him as saying.
Gerashchenko, 73, has had a professional career devoted to Russia’s main scientific research institute IAM, which is responsible for the development of space technology and is considered very close to Putin. He was a respected teacher and an eminent engineer, awarded the Medal of the Order for Services to the Motherland.
The strange death of Anatoly Zherashchenko comes less than two weeks after the death of the Russian head of Arctic affairs, who “fell overboard” during a boat trip.
Ivan Pechorin, 39, was director general of the Arctic Development Agency (CDA) and fell from his boat into the sea off Russky Island near Cape Ignativ, Russian news agency Pravda revealed.
Pechor’s body was found in the sea less than 24 hours after falling from the boat. His death is an irreparable loss to his friends and colleagues and a great loss to the corporation, according to a statement issued by the organization.
Pechorin was in office for about seven months. He was appointed chief director of the CDA in February following the death of previous CEO Igor Nozov, 43, from a stroke.
September was particularly difficult for Russians close to power, starting with news of the death of 67-year-old Ravil Maganov. The oil tycoon reportedly fell from the sixth floor of a hospital in Moscow.
Maganov was the head of Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil company, which spoke out against the invasion of Ukraine. According to a report published by the World Press, the president was beaten before falling from the window. The incident was recorded shortly after Putin visited the Central Hospital Clinic to pay his respects as Mikhail Gorbachev, the president who opened Russia to the world, died in hospital.
Alexander Subodin, a top manager at Lukoil, was found dead in May. The 43-year-old billionaire, who was linked to the Kremlin and owned a shipping company, reportedly died of a heart attack. The heart attack was thought to be poison-induced.
Deaths in the energy sector hit Gazprom. Alexander Tyulakov, 61, a top official at the Russian state gas company, was found dead by his mistress in a luxury home in St. Petersburg the day after the invasion of Ukraine.
In April, one of the most shocking deaths occurred: Vladislav Ayaev, a former Kremlin official, reportedly stabbed his wife Yelena, 47, and their 13-year-old daughter to death.
Days later, 55-year-old multi-millionaire Sergey Protosenya was found hanged in Spain after killing his wife Natalia, 53, and their teenage daughter with an axe.
These are just a few examples of the mysterious deaths that have plagued Russian presidents this year since the February 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Before the war began, in the early hours of February, Leonid Shulman, head of transportation at Gazprom Invest, was found dead with multiple stab wounds in the bathroom of the house in the same condominium where Dyukhalov lived.