It’s Never Been More Unsafe To Be A Russian Oligarch

(Photo by Thibault Camus / POOL / AFP) (Photo by THIBAULT CAMUS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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2022 was one of the deadliest years on record for Russian oligarchs, with countless dying under suspicious circumstances all around the world.

Hangings, massacres, and a strange number of falls are amongst just some of the ways that Russian businessmen mysteriously and prematurely died in 2022. Estimates vary, but a number of strange deaths have occurred since Russian President Vladimir Putin started his invasion of Ukraine.

Many deaths relate to Gazprom, the company in control of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. The first suspicious death of 2022 was that of top executive Leonid Shulman, who reportedly left a suicide note after killing himself at a cottage in the village of Leninskiy, according to CNN. Almost exactly a month later, another top executive, Alexander Tyulakov, was found dead in his garage in the very same village — also by suicide.

Then there was Ukrainian-born Mikhail Watford, who was found hanging in one of his British estates in March. No further details were provided on his death, and it was ruled a suicide.

In April, former Vice President of Gazprombank Vladislav Avayev was discovered dead along with his wife and daughter in their Moscow apartment, again of a suspected murder-suicide. Another former VP said that he did not believe Avayev would kill himself, CNN noted.

In the same month, the former manager of Novatek, Sergei Protosenya, was found dead in his luxury Spanish villa along with his wife and daughter. This occurred shortly before the chairman of Russia’s Lukoil corporation, Ravil Maganov, died either of  “severe illness” or fell out of a sixth-floor window of a Moscow hospital.

Maganov’s former colleague at Lukoil, Alexander Subbotin, died of heart failure while seeking medical treatment from a shaman. (RELATED: Putin Might Threaten Nukes, Chemical Attacks And More, US Says)

Just days before 2023, Russian sausage tycoon and politician Pavel Antov, was reportedly found dead in a pool of blood after falling from a third-story hotel room window in India. Police suspected that Antov killed himself after his friend, Vladimir Bidenov, died Thursday in the same hotel.

Antov was an outspoken critic of the war in Ukraine, like former rector to the Moscow Aviation Institute Anatoly Gerashchenko. Gerashchenko died suddenly in September after releasing a company statement decrying the war in Ukraine.

Other prominent Putin critics have met similar fates. The hand-picked managing director of Russia’s Far East and Arctic Development Corporation, Ivan Pechorin, fell from his yacht. Dan Rapoport, a Latvian-born U.S. citizen, fell to his death from a Washington D.C. window.

While not quite as suspicious, Russian cryptocurrency investor and billionaire Vyacheslav Taran was killed in November when his helicopter crashed near the French-Italian border. His death was more notable in the crypto world, as his was one of a number of recent deaths amongst notable figures in the industry.

It’s far from the first time that a slew of people linked to Putin have died under mysterious circumstances in a short amount of time, and this is by no means an exhaustive list of even those who died in 2022. Back in 2016, Putin’s opponents were “dying left and right,” and it appears that 2022 will be no different, or perhaps worse.