2022 Russian businessmen mystery deaths

During 2022, multiple unusual deaths of Russian-connected businessmen, and sometimes their family members, occurred under what some sources suggest were suspicious circumstances.[1][2][3][4]


On 3 June 2022, the Dutch NOS news network described the phenomenon as "a grim series of Russian billionaires, many from the oil and gas industries, who have been found dead under unusual circumstances since early this year. The first was on 30 January, when 60-year-old Leonid Shulman, transport chief for Russian energy giant Gazprom, was found dead in the bathroom of his country house in the Leningrad region. Beside his body was a suicide note."[4] On 6 July 2022, CNN Portugal described the group as "millionaires with direct or indirect links to the Kremlin found dead in a mystery scenario since the beginning of the year".[5] It referred to a previous investigation by USA Today, which concluded that "38 Russian businessmen and oligarchs close to the Kremlin died in mysterious or suspicious circumstances between 2014 and 2017."[5]

Friends and families of the deceased Russian businessmen generally found it "unthinkable" that they killed themselves – and in some cases also their wives and children – and have demanded an independent investigation into the mysterious deaths.[4] Igor Volobuyev, the Ukrainian-born ex-vice-chairman of Gazprombank, who left Russia during the outbreak of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and joined the Freedom of Russia Legion,[6][7] said in an interview with The Insider that he thought that his former colleague Vladislav Avayev's alleged murder of his family and subsequent suicide had been staged: "Why? That is difficult to say. Perhaps he knew something and posed some kind of danger."[4][8] Likewise, Sergey Protosenya's son, who was not in Spain when his parents and sister were found dead in Lloret de Mar, stated his father was not the perpetrator ("my father is not a murderer"), but that his parents and sister were murdered by someone else.[4] Protosenya was the former CEO of gas giant Novatek, which published a statement saying he was "a real family man", and called on the Spanish authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation.[4] Businessman and critic of the Russian federal government Bill Browder has opined that Putin is personally ordering executions of influential business leaders in critical sectors whom he feels will not be yes men and intimidates their successors with threats of death or violence.[9]

List of deaths

This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by adding missing items with reliable sources.
Name Position Date of death Place body was discovered Circumstances
Leonid Shulman Director of transport of Gazprom[10][5][4] 30 January 2022 Russia Leningrad Oblast residence's bathroom[4] Suicide note found next to his body[4]
Igor Nosov CEO of the Russian Far East and Arctic Development Corporation (KRDV) and former deputy governor of Nizhny Novgorod 8 February 2022 Russia Moscow Reportedly suffered a stroke[11]
Alexander Tyulakov Deputy general director of the Unified Settlement Center of Gazprom[10][5][4] 25 February 2022 Russia Saint Petersburg residence's garage[4] Suicide note found on his body[4]
Mikhail Watford Businessman[10][12][5][4] 28 February 2022 United Kingdom Surrey residence's garage[4] British authorities have not found evidence of a crime[4]
Vasily Melnikov CEO and owner of Medstorm[10][5][4] 23 March 2022 Russia Nizhny Novgorod apartment[4] Wife and two sons found dead beside him[4]
Vladislav Avayev Former vice president of Gazprombank[10][5][13] 18 April 2022 Russia Moscow luxury apartment[4] Wife and 13-year-old daughter found dead beside him[4]
Sergey Protosenya Former deputy chairman of Novatek.[10][5][13][4] 19 April 2022 Spain Lloret de Mar, Spain residence's garden[4] Hanged from a handrail;[14] wife and daughter found dead in their beds with blunt axe hits[14] and stab wounds[4]
Andrei Krukovsky General director of the Estosadok Krasnaya Polyana ski resort owned by Gazprom[5][13] 2–3 May 2022 Russia Sochi,[5] cliff near Achipse Fortress [ru][13] Reportedly "fell off a cliff while hiking to Achipse Fortress [ru]"[13]
Alexander Subbotin Board member of Lukoil[15][5] 8–9 May 2022 Russia Moscow, Jamaican shaman's basement[4] Reportedly died from a "drug-induced heart attack" during a shamanic ritual, though critics allege "toad poison"[4]
Yuri Voronov CEO of Astra Shipping, a subcontractor of Gazprom[5] 4 July 2022 Russia Leningrad Oblast residence's pool[5] Gunshot wounds to the head, pistol found next to his body[5]
Dan Rapoport Businessman[16] 14 August 2022 United States Washington D.C. luxury apartment Reportedly died in a fall from his apartment[16]
Ravil Maganov Chairman of Lukoil[5] 1 September 2022 Russia Moscow, below a Kremlin Hospital's window[17] Reportedly hospitalised for heart problems and depression, then "fell out of a window"[17]
Ivan Pechorin Aviation director of the Russian Far East and Arctic Development Corporation (KRDV) 10 September 2022[18][19] Russia Washed up at Beregovoe, 160 kilometres (99 mi) from Vladivostok Drowned at Cape Ignatyev, Vladivostok; body found in Beregovoe two days later;[19] allegedly fell from his boat[20]
Vladimir Sungorkin [ru] Editor-in-chief of Komsomolskaya Pravda 14 September 2022[21] Russia Village of Roshchino, Khabarovsk Krai Reportedly suffered a stroke and suffocated while on the way to lunch[21]
Anatoly Gerashchenko [ru] Former Head of Moscow Aviation Institute 21 September 2022[22][23] Russia Moscow[22][23] Fell down a flight of stairs inside the institute[22][23]
Pavel Pchelnikov Director of Digital Logistics, a Russian Railways subsidiary[24][25] 28 September 2022[25] Russia Moscow apartment[24][25] Allegedly shot himself on the balcony of his apartment[24][25]
Nikolai Mushegian Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur and MakerDAO Co-founder 28 October 2022 Puerto Rico Drowned in Puerto Rico hours after tweeting he was afraid the CIA or Mossad would kill him[citation needed]
Tiantian Kullander Co-founder of Amber Group and Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur 23 November 2022 China Died unexpectedly in his sleep from unknown causes[citation needed]
Vyacheslav Taran Co-founder of Libertex, a forex exchange 29 November 2022 France Villefranche-sur-Mer Died in helicopter crash after taking off from Switzerland[citation needed]
Grigory Kochenov Creative director of IT company Agima 7 December 2022 Russia Nizhny Novgorod Fell to his death from his balcony while police officers were supposedly conducting a search of his apartment[26]

See also


  1. ^ "A Wave of Mystery Suicides of Russian Gazprom Executives". Warsaw Institute. 24 April 2022. Archived from the original on 6 July 2022. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  2. ^ Rahman, Khaleda (27 April 2022). "Russian oligarch deaths were not suicide, says gas exec who fled country". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 29 July 2022. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  3. ^ Deutsche, Welle. "Mysterious series of deaths among Russian oligarchs | DW | 7 May 2022". DW.COM. Archived from the original on 6 July 2022. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Iris de Graaf (3 June 2022). "Mysterieuze reeks 'zelfmoorden' onder Russische oligarchen" [Mysterious series of 'suicides' among Russian oligarchs]. NOS.nl (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 1 September 2022. Retrieved 1 September 2022. ...een grimmige reeks aan Russische miljardairs, velen uit de olie- en gassector, die onder ongebruikelijke omstandigheden dood zijn aangetroffen sinds begin dit jaar. Het begon op 30 januari, toen de 60-jarige Leonid Sjoelman, hoofd transport van de Russische energiegigant Gazprom, dood werd aangetroffen in de badkamer van zijn buitenhuis in de regio Leningrad. Naast zijn lichaam lag een afscheidsbrief.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Yet another Russian tycoon found dead under mysterious circumstances. Found in the pool at home". CNN Portugal (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 9 July 2022. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  6. ^ "Former Gazprombank executive Igor Volobuev joins the Freedom to Russia Legion within the Ukrainian Armed Forces". Novaya Gazeta. 11 June 2022. Archived from the original on 11 June 2022. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  7. ^ "'I could not be part of this crime': the Russians fighting for Ukraine". The Guardian. 14 June 2022. Archived from the original on 27 June 2022. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  8. ^ "Вице-президент "Газпромбанка" Игорь Волобуев уехал в Украину, собрался вступить в тероборону и назвал смерть топ-менеджера Аваева убийством" [Igor Volobuyev, Vice-President of Gazprombank, left for Ukraine, was about to join the defence and called the death of top manager Avayev a murder]. The Insider (in Russian). 26 April 2022. Archived from the original on 5 July 2022. Retrieved 1 September 2022.
  9. ^ Hawley, Samantha; Duxfield, Flint (3 October 2022). "Russia's millionaires dying in 'epidemic of murder' to fund Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine, says campaigner". ABC News. Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d e f "At least five Russian businessmen have died by apparent suicide in just three months". CNN. Archived from the original on 6 July 2022. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  11. ^ "A Kremlin ally died falling down the stairs, report says — the latest in a series of unexplained deaths among prominent Russians". Business Insider.
  12. ^ "Mikhail Watford: Ukrainian oligarch's death investigated by Surrey Police". BBC. Archived from the original on 9 July 2022. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  13. ^ a b c d e "The death of the Russian oligarchs". CNN Türk (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 9 July 2022. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  14. ^ a b Sánchez, Guillem (28 April 2022). "La conexión del crimen de Lloret de Mar con Rusia". elperiodico (in Spanish). Retrieved 2 September 2022. Sergey se había colgado de una barandilla exterior. [...] Los agentes creen que primero golpeó con el dorso del hacha en la cabeza de las víctimas y, una vez inconscientes, las mató con un cuchillo.
  15. ^ ""Toad poison" hangover treatment reportedly kills Russian oil executive at the house of a "shaman" near Moscow". CBS News. Archived from the original on 9 July 2022. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  16. ^ a b Schaffer, Michael (26 August 2022). "A Putin Critic Fell from a Building in Washington. Was It Really a Suicide?". Politico. Archived from the original on 1 September 2022. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  17. ^ a b "Topman Russisch gas- en oliebedrijf Lukoil komt om het leven 'na val uit raam'" [Top man of Russian gas and oil company Lukoil dies 'after falling from a window']. NOS.nl (in Dutch). 1 September 2022. Archived from the original on 1 September 2022. Retrieved 1 September 2022.
  18. ^ "Mysterious death of Ivan Pechorin, Vladimir Putin's top energy executive". EuroWeekly News. Archived from the original on 13 September 2022. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  19. ^ a b Pavlova, Uliana (14 September 2022). "Russian businessman's body found in latest mysterious death | CNN Business". CNN. Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  20. ^ "Putin ally falls into the sea, adding to list of mysterious deaths suffered by Russian energy bosses". Business Insider. 13 September 2022. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  21. ^ a b Ibrahim, Noor (14 September 2022). "Another Putin Ally Dead After 'Suffocating' on Business Trip". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 14 September 2022 – via Yahoo! News.
  22. ^ a b c Manning, Joshua (21 September 2022). "Former rector of Moscow Aviation Institute dies after "falling down flight of stairs"". EuroWeekly News.
  23. ^ a b c Ladden-Hall, Dan (21 September 2022). "Ex-Putin Ally Plunges to His Death 'From a Great Height' at Moscow Aviation Institute". The Daily Beast.
  24. ^ a b c "У Москві застрелився топменеджер дочірньої фірми «Російських залізниць» Павло Пчельников". Судово-юридична газета (in Ukrainian). 29 September 2022. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
  25. ^ a b c d Helen Bourdain (28 September 2022). "На росії раптово загинув топ-менеджер РЖД Пчельніков: подробиці". StopCor (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 29 September 2022.
  26. ^ https://meduza.io/en/feature/2022/12/09/what-he-s-accused-of-simply-can-t-be-true

External links

  • "Every Russian Official Who Has Died Since Putin Invaded Ukraine—Full List" by Giulia Carbonaro, in Newsweek (2022-04-22)
  • "14 Suspicious Russian Deaths: Is Putin Killing Oligarchs?". YouTube. TLDR News EU. 26 September 2022.
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