Two Russian gas oligarchs were killed within 48 hours last week – the eXXpress reported. Officially, it was a family drama: both men first killed their wife, then their daughters, and finally themselves. But there are doubts. Farewell letters are missing. Above all, however, two other top managers at Gazprom died in January and February, both allegedly again by suicide. With such a high suicide rate in the top echelon of the Russian gas business, one becomes skeptical.
On February 25, one day after the start of the Ukraine war, the mistress of a high-ranking finance and security official discovered his body in his villa. We are talking about Alexander Tyulakov (61), deputy general director of the Gazprom Court of Accounts for corporate security. His neck was in a noose. However, according to media reports, he was badly beaten shortly before his “suicide”.
Tyulakov lived in the posh Leninsky settlement, as did Leonid Shulman, 60, the head of Gazprom Invest’s transport department. He was found dead three weeks earlier, with multiple stab wounds in a pool of blood on his bathroom floor.
Shulman left a suicide note, but its contents are being kept secret. A photo of it is circulating on the internet. Allegedly killed himself with a knife. At the end of 2021, the authorities are said to have encountered violations in public procurement.
The eXXpress has already reported on the two deaths in the past week. The more you learn about them, the more mysterious they become. Multimillionaire Sergei Protosenya, 55, was found hanged in Spain, his wife Natalia, 33, and their teenage daughter Maria were killed with an ax in their home. Protosenya was a former deputy chairman of Nowatek. The Kremlin-affiliated company is the largest independent natural gas producer in Russia.
What is surprising, among other things, is that there are no traces of blood on Protosenja’s corpse. Although the alleged perpetrator had nothing to lose anyway, he was careful not to leave any traces: no fingerprints on the weapons, no bloodstains, no suicide note.
Just days earlier, businessman Vladislav Awayev, 51, ex-vice president of Gazprombank and a former Kremlin official, was found dead in his Moscow penthouse, along with his wife Yelena, 47, and their teenage daughter Maria. In both cases, investigations are still ongoing. Both victims are connected to Putin’s inner circle.
The most recent death in Spain seems particularly unbelievable. Sergei Protasenya is said to have had a “perfect family”, according to a person close to him. The source doesn’t believe he killed his family, according to Telegram channel Toad and Viper. Protosenya, who is said to be worth $440 million, was Novatek’s chief accountant between 2002 and 2014 and later became its vice president.
Nowatek is co-owned by close Putin friend Gennady Timchenko. The company is also closely linked to Pjotr Kolbin, a childhood friend of Putin’s who is also said to be acting as his front man.
Awayev’s former employer Gazprombank is also close to the Putin circle. Gazprombank was chosen by Putin as the authorized institution to accept Western payments for gas in rubles. Awayev, after leaving Gazprombank, had a joint venture business with the daughter of a senior Rostec employee, another friend of Putin.
The Telegram channel Mozhem Obyasnit says: “This is how the families of managers of two important private companies who manage the money of Putin’s entourage die under strange and similar circumstances.”