Several prominent Russian businessmen have died by apparent suicide in just three months

CNN’s calls to Gazprom were not returned.

A senior Gazprom executive was found dead in his cottage in the village of Leninsky near Leningrad on January 30, 2022, according to Russian state media RIA Novosti.

RIA reported that a suicide note was found at the scene and investigators are investigating the death as a suicide. Russian national TV channel RenTv identified the man as Leonid Shulman, the transport manager at Gazprom Invest.

Just a month after that, another senior Gazprom executive was found dead in the same village. Alexander Tyulakov was found dead in his garage on February 25, according to Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper. Novaya Gazeta reported that he committed suicide.

Alexander Tyulako, top executive of Gazprom.

CNN asked Russia’s investigative committee for comment on both cases, but did not receive a response.

Mikhail Watform, a Ukrainian-born Russian billionaire, was found dead at his home in Surrey, England on February 28.

Surrey Police told CNN the death was being investigated by the coroner, who said a hearing would be held on July 29.

Another Russian businessman, Vasily Melnikov, was found dead alongside his family in Nizhny Novgorod in late March, according to Russian newspaper Kommersant.

Melnikov owned MedStom, a medical supply company. According to the Russian investigative commission, a 43-year-old man, his 41-year-old wife and two children aged 4 and 10 were found stabbed to death on March 23.

The committee did not name Melnikov, but the age of the dead and the location of the incident match Kommersant’s report.

The regional branch of the investigating committee did not update the status of its investigation and did not return CNN’s request for comment. At the time of the incident, in March, he said there “were no signs of unauthorized entry into the apartment” and that “knives were found and seized”.

“[Investigators] are considering several versions of what happened, including the killing of the children and the wife by the head of the family, followed by a self-inflicted death,” the committee said.

And earlier this month, two other Russian businessmen died in apparent murder-suicides.

Vladislav Avayev, the former vice president of Gazprombank, was found dead with his wife and daughter in his Moscow apartment on April 18, according to Russian news agency Tas.

Citing a law enforcement source, Tass said authorities are investigating the Avayevs’ death as a murder-suicide.

Vladislav Avayev, the former vice president of Gazprombank,

Yulia Ivanova, a representative of the Moscow Investigative Committee, was quoted by Tass as saying a relative discovered the Avayevs’ bodies after being told by the family’s driver and nanny that they could not contact them by phone or enter the apartment. , since the door was closed from the inside.

Igor Volobuev, a former vice president of Gazprombank who recently left Russia for Ukraine, told CNN he does not believe Avayev killed himself.

“His job was to take care of private banking, that is to say to take care of VIP clients. He was in charge of very large sums of money. So, did he commit suicide? I I don’t think so. I think he knew something and posed some kind of risk,” Volobuev told CNN.

Just a day later, on April 19, Sergey Protosenya, a former executive at gas producer Novatek, which is partly owned by Gazprom, was found dead north of Barcelona. The bodies of his wife and daughter were found nearby, an official source familiar with the investigation told CNN last week.

Protesenya, his wife and daughter were found at their home in Lloret de Mar, a Mediterranean resort near Barcelona.

The bodies of the two women, showing signs of abuse, were found inside the family’s luxury home, and Protosenya’s body was found in the garden outside, the source said. The case is being investigated as a double murder followed by suicide in a domestic violence case.

Russian gas tycoon Sergei Protosenya with his wife Natalya.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Protosenya’s son questioned the version of events, suggesting instead that his father had been murdered.

“He loved my mother and especially Maria my sister. She was his princess. He could never do anything to hurt them. I don’t know what happened that night, but I know my father didn’t hurt them,” said Fedor Protosenya, who was at the family home in France at the time of the incident.

Catalan police in the province of Girona, where the city of Lloret de Mar is located, told CNN on Friday that “the hypothesis continues to be a case of domestic violence despite the son’s statements.”

“The Catalan police have taken statements from the son. Other hypotheses have been ruled out. A triple homicide has also been ruled out,” the police press officer told CNN.

“That was the work of the Russian mafia?” Well, no,” the official added.

Novatek, Protosenya’s former employer, said he was “a wonderful person and a wonderful family man”.

“Unfortunately, there have been speculations about this in the media, but we are convinced that these speculations are unrelated to reality. We hope that Spanish law enforcement will carry out a thorough and objective investigation and resolve this that happened “. the company said in a statement.

How to get help: In the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide can also provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.


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