Kremlin ally dies after falling down stairs; Another unexplained death among Russian officials

The former head of the Moscow Aviation Institute died after falling down the stairs, becoming the latest Russian prominent figure to die in recent weeks.

The death of Russian scientist Anatoly Gerashchenko, 72, was announced by the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI) University in a press release published on Wednesday. The university did not provide details on the manner of death but said he “died as a result of an accident”.

However, according to the Russian newspaper “Izvestia”, Gerashchenko died on the university premises after falling from “several flights of stairs”. The publication wrote that medics who arrived at the scene pronounced him dead, citing an unnamed source.

Gerashchenko worked for MAI University for more than four decades and was elected rector of the institute in 2007 – a position he held until 2015. At the time of his death, Gerashchenko was working as an adviser to the current rector, Mikhail Pogosyan.

MAI University said it will form a committee including representatives from MAI, Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science and the State Labor Inspectorate to investigate Gerashchenko’s death.

The death of the former rector of MAI University is the latest in a string of unexplained deaths among Kremlin allies over the past month.

On September 14, Vladimir Nikolayevich Sungorkin, the 68-year-old editor-in-chief of the state newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda (KP), reportedly died “suddenly” after showing signs of “suffocation” while on a business trip in Russia’s eastern Roshchino region. A doctor who performed the initial examination attributed her death to a stroke, Leonid Zakharov, Sungorkin’s deputy, wrote in a story for KP.

On September 12, the body of Ivan Pechorin, aviation director of the Russian Far East and Arctic Development Corporation (KRDV), was found washed up near Cape Ignatiev. Local broadcaster VL.ru said Pechorin died after “falling overboard” from a boat while it was sailing towards Russky Island.

On September 1, Ravil Maganov, chairman of Russia’s second-largest oil producer Lukoil, died after allegedly “falling” from the window of the Central Clinical Hospital (TsKB) in Moscow, a state-controlled Interfax news agency said. At the time of his death, he had been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack.

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