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Russian oligarch dies ‘suddenly’ in latest mysterious death since war

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The list of Russian oligarchs who died this year is getting longer. A former Russian army chief with longstanding ties to Ukraine has died “suddenly” in Moscow at the age of 69. The news came from the tank factory where he worked, the Uralvagonzavod machine-building company: the largest tank manufacturer in the world.

The general’s name was Alexei Maslov and he was recently working as an international representative. The company did not provide further explanations.

General Maslov, who was commander-in-chief of the Russian Ground Forces from 2004 to 2008, passed away on Christmas Day in a Moscow military hospital, the company said.

Uralvagonzavod called him “a distinguished commander who made a valiant journey from platoon commander to commander-in-chief of the ground forces.”

The former military leader, originally from a Russian region bordering Ukraine, had close ties to the country that Russia invaded in February. General Maslov’s military career began in Soviet Ukraine, where he studied at a high school for military commanders in Kharkiv.

Later he was stationed in the Carpathians, on the border with Romania. After a four-year stint in command of Russian forces, General Maslov was appointed deputy to Dmitry Rogozin, the then Russian envoy to NATO in Brussels.

To keep track of all suspicious deaths surrounding Putin’s circles since the start of the war, Wikipedia has created a specific page where the name, date of death, place, circumstances and role are written.

A wealthy Russian businessman and United Russia MP, Pavel Antonov, who criticised the war in Ukraine in June, was found dead on Sunday evening after a fall from the third floor of a hotel in Rayagada, in the Indian state of Odisha, while was celebrating his 65th birthday.

According to local authorities, cited by Tass, Antov committed suicide because he was depressed by the death two days earlier, apparently of a heart attack, of a Russian friend, Vladimir Budanov, who was part of a group of four tourists who arrived in the hotel a few days before. According to the New Indian Express, Antov was “visibly upset” after attending Budanov’s funeral.

On June 3, 2022, the Dutch news network NOS described the phenomenon as “a grim series of Russian billionaires, many from the oil and gas industries, who have been found dead in unusual circumstances since the beginning of this year”.

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The first was on January 30, when 60-year-old Leonid Shulman, head of transport at Russian energy giant Gazprom, was found dead in the bathroom of his country house in the Leningrad region. Next to his body was a farewell note. On July 6, 2022, CNN Portugal described the group as “millionaires with direct or indirect ties to the Kremlin found dead in mysterious scenario since the beginning of the year”.

It was referring to an earlier investigation by USA Today, which concluded that “38 Russian businessmen and oligarchs close to the Kremlin died under mysterious or suspicious circumstances between 2014 and 2017.”

Ivan Pechorin, a top manager of the Corporation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, was found dead in Vladivostok after falling off his luxury yacht and drowning near Cape Ignatyev in the Sea of Japan two days earlier.

“On September 12, 2022, we became aware about the tragic death of our colleague Ivan Pechorin, CEO of the aviation industry of the Corporation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic,” the company said in a statement.

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Pechorin is said to have been tasked with modernising Russia’s aviation industry and to have worked directly under Putin.

News of Pechorin’s death came less than two weeks after the chairman of the board of Russia’s largest private oil company, Ravil Maganov, died in what Russian news agencies cited as an accidental fall from the window of a hospital.

Initially, a statement from Lukoil’s company said Maganov “died after a serious illness” on September 1, but did not provide further details.

Russian news reports later claimed that his body was found in Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital, where Russia’s political and business elite are often treated. Maganov appeared to have fallen from a sixth-story window, reports said. Some sources said he tripped and fell while smoking, stating that a pack of cigarettes was found by the window. RBK news site also said police were investigating the possibility of suicide.

Lukoil was one of the few Russian companies to publicly call for an end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, calling in March for “the immediate cessation of the armed conflict”.

A former top manager, Aleksandr Subbotin, was found dead in the basement of a residence in a Moscow suburb in May. According to Russian news reports, the house belonged to a self-styled healer, the shaman Magua, who practiced purification rites.

Magua testified that Subbotin came to his house under the influence of alcohol and drugs and asked the healer, whose real name is Aleksei Pindurin, to perform a healing ritual for hangover symptoms. Investigators said the preliminary cause of Subbotin’s death was determined to be heart failure.

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