Last week, two other Russian oligarchs Mysterious were found dead next to their families 48 hours apart on suspicion of suicide. They are the latest in a string of high-profile Russian deaths in mysterious months.
It is not the first time there have been reports of Russian officials dying suspiciously, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has long been known to take drastic measures to silence his opponents. In 2017, USA TODAY published an investigative report detailing at least 38 oligarchs who died or went missing over a period of three years.
In the first months of 2022, at least six prominent members of Russia’s elite class were found dead under unusual circumstances. Here is a list of all the Russian oligarchs we know who died this year:
On April 18, Vladislav Avayev and his wife and daughter were found dead in their Moscow apartment, according to TASS, a Russian state-run news agency.
Preliminary evidence revealed that the deaths were the result of suicide, reports TASS. Avayev was found in his multimillion-dollar apartment in Moscow with a firearm, which may have been used to kill his wife and 13-year-old daughter.
Avayev was vice-president of Gazprombank, Russia’s third-largest bank, and power giant Gazprom.
Just two days later, a well-known Russian man was found dead in a state of shock.
The body of Sergey Protosenya, a former Novatek official — Russia’s largest independent natural gas producer — has been found hanging outside a Spanish rented house that he and his family rented. His wife and 18-year-old daughter were found stabbed to death in their beds, according to Spanish news agency Telecinco.
Protosenya, 55, has raised more than $ 433 million, according to Telecinco.
Preliminary investigations by local lawmakers initially revealed that the family’s death was the result of a suicide, but investigators did not rule out the possibility of all three being killed, according to the Spanish newspaper El Punt Avui.
Shortly after their deaths, Novatek, where Protosenya worked from 1997 to 2015, issued a statement expressing suspicion that he had killed his wife and daughter.
“[Protosenya] has established himself as an outstanding man and a wonderful family man, a solid professional who has made significant contributions to the formation and development of the Company,” Novatek said in a statement. “Unfortunately, there have been media speculations about the matter, but we are confident that these allegations are not related to the facts.”
Last month, Russian billionaire Vasily Melnikov was also found dead in his multimillion-dollar apartment in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod with his wife and two sons, according to the Russian newspaper Kommersant and a Newsweek report.
All three Melnikovs died from stab wounds. According to Kommersant, a police investigation found that Melnikov had killed his wife and sons before committing suicide.
According to a Newsweek report, Melnikov’s neighbors and relatives have revealed that they found it difficult to believe that Melnikov had killed his family.
Prior to his death, Melnikov was a senior member of the Medstom medical company. The company has been hit hard by economic sanctions in Russia following the Ukraine invasion, according to the Ukrainian newspaper Glavred and reported by Newsweek.
In late February, a few days after Russia officially invaded Ukraine, Mikhail Watford was found hanging in a garage at his home in Surrey, U.K. His wife and children were at home at the time, though unharmed.
The Russian-born Russian man, 66, made millions of dollars as oil and gas after the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to the BBC.
Born Tolstosheya, Watford changed his name after moving to the UK. His death is being investigated by Surrey police, who told the BBC in early March that “it is unbelievable that there were any suspicious cases at the time.”