The former head of a Kremlin-linked engineering institute died Wednesday in an apparent accident. according to CNN — joining the long list of Russian CEOs and officials who have met a mysterious end this year.
Russian media outlet Izvestia reported that Anatoly Gerashchenko “fell from a great height” down numerous flights of stairs inside the Moscow Aviation Institute headquarters, according to The Daily Beast. the described the press office of the institute 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 the state-controlled outlet RIA Novosti. He spent 45 years rising through the ranks there and was honored with government awards, such as the Medal for Merit to the Fatherland.
While the Moscow Aviation Institute may 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 to the country’s Defense Ministry.
The institute called Gerashchenko’s death a “colossal loss” and said it would set up an internal commission to investigate. That panel would include members from multiple government agencies and the university itself, he said.
Gerashchenko is the latest in a string of high-profile Russians to die this year in unexpected circumstances.
Ravil Maganov, who chaired Russia’s second largest oil company, Lukoil, jumped to his death from the sixth floor of a hospital earlier this month. Billionaire Alexander Subbotin, a former manager of Lukoil, was found dead in May of an apparent heart attack at a shaman’s house. according to Newsweek.
Meanwhile, local news reported that Leonid Shulman, an executive at the country’s third-largest bank, Gazprombank, hanged himself at his country home in January. according to Reuters. The following month, former Gazprombank executive Alexander Tyulyakov was also found hanged. the new york post said.
Vladislav Avayev, a former vice president of the bank, was found shot to death in April alongside the bodies of his wife and daughter. The next day, Sergei Protosenya, the former manager of Russia’s second largest gas producer, Novatek, was found hanged in a Spanish villa.
So far, authorities have not said foul play caused the deaths of either man.