Moscow official dies after falling down stairs, joins long list of mysterious high-profile deaths

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

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

Gerashchenko, who headed the organization from 2007 to 2015, was serving as an advisor to the institute’s current rector when he died, according to state-controlled news outlet RIA Novosti. There he rose for 45 years and was honored with state awards such as the Medal of Merit for the Fatherland.

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

The institute described Gerashchenko’s death as a “colossal loss” and announced that it would set up an internal commission of inquiry. That body would include members from multiple government agencies and the university itself, it said.

Anatoly Gerashchenko reportedly fell down several flights of stairs.

Moscow Aviation Institute

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

Ravil Maganov, chairman of Russia’s second largest oil company Lukoil, reportedly jumped to his death from the sixth floor of a hospital earlier this month. According to Newsweek, billionaire Alexander Subbotin, a former executive at Lukoil, was found dead in a shaman’s home in May.

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

Vladislav Avayev, a former vice president of the bank, was found shot dead next to the bodies of his wife and daughter in April. The following day, Sergei Protosenya, a 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 any of the men’s deaths.