Moscow Official Dies In Staircase Fall, Joins Long List Of Mysterious High-Profile Deaths

Anatoly Gerashchenko, a former head of the Moscow Aviation Institute, is the latest Kremlin ally to suffer a tragic fate under unexpected circumstances.

The former head of a Kremlin-linked engineering institute died Wednesday in an apparent accident, according to CNN — adding to the long list of Russian CEOs and officials who have met a mysterious end this year.

Russian news outlet Izvestia reported that Anatoly Gerashchenko “fell from a great height” down numerous flights of stairs inside the Moscow Aviation Institute’s headquarters, according to The Daily Beast. The institute’s press office described his death as “the result of an accident.”

Gerashchenko, who led the organization from 2007 to 2015, was serving as an adviser to the institute’s current rector when he died, according to state-controlled outlet RIA Novosti. He spent 45 years rising through the ranks there and was honored with government awards, such as the Merit to the Fatherland medal.

While the Moscow Aviation Institute might sound like a flight school, the university conducts research in fields with potential military applications, from avionics and aerospace to drones and artificial intelligence, according to Insider. It has ties with the country’s Ministry of Defense.

The institute called Gerashchenko’s death a “colossal loss” and said it would establish an internal commission to investigate. That panel would include members of multiple government bodies and the university itself, it said.

Anatoly Gerashchenko reportedly fell down several flights of stairs.
Anatoly Gerashchenko reportedly fell down several flights of stairs.
Moscow Aviation Institute

Gerashchenko is the latest in a series of high-profile Russians to die this year under unexpected circumstances.

Ravil Maganov, who chaired Russia’s second-largest oil company, Lukoil, reportedly leaped to his death from the sixth floor of a hospital earlier this month. Billionaire Alexander Subbotin, a former manager at Lukoil, was found dead in May of an apparent heart attack in the home of a shaman, according to Newsweek.

Meanwhile, local news reported that Leonid Shulman — an executive at the country’s third-largest bank, Gazprombank — hanged himself in his cottage in January, according to Reuters. The next month, former Gazprombank executive Alexander Tyulyakov was also found hanged, the New York Post said.

Vladislav Avayev, a former vice president at the bank, was found shot to death in April next to the bodies of his wife and daughter. The following day, Sergei Protosenya — an ex-manager of Russia’s second-largest gas producer, Novatek — was found hanged in a Spanish villa.

Thus far, authorities have not said that foul play caused any of the men’s deaths.

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