Fear that Vladimir Putin is purging his inner circle is growing after a reported four “suicides” of gas industry executives linked closely to the brutal tyrant.
The alleged suicides have been called “suspicious” by numerous Russian sources including a former FSB colonel.
Gennady Gudkov claimed there were similarities in the deaths of top managers and their family members from Russian gas companies.
He said: “Don’t let the ‘rats’ escape, they might talk.
“If we already understand that the regime is engaged in the elimination of its opponents and enemies, then why will they not deal with those who are considered traitors who have fled the system.
“Many cases of [suspicious deaths] are like settling scores.”
His accusations come after the alleged suicide of Sergey Protosenya, a former deputy chairman of Novotek – a company closely linked to Russia.
Protosenya’s wife Natalia, 53, and their teenage daughter, Maria, were previously stabbed to death allegedly by Protosenya.
And just a few days earlier, millionaire Vladislav Avayev, 51, ex-vice-president of Gazprombank and former Kremlin official, was found dead in his Moscow penthouse.
His wife Yelena, 47, and daughter, Maria, 13, were found dead with him.
Both cases have been labelled as suspicious and some believe they have been staged as suicides, although detectives remain investigating.
The two incidents “are united by the former places of work of the victims – both are connected with Putin’s inner circle,” according to a Telegram channel.
As well as these two cases, there have been two more prominent gas executive deaths this year.
The body of Alexander Tyulakov, 61, a security official at deputy general director level was found just a day after the Ukraine invasion started on February 25.
He was found hanging in his £500,000 home but reports claim he had been intensely beaten before “taking his own life”, leading to speculation of something else at play.
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Three weeks earlier Leonid Shulman, 60, head of transport at Gazprom Invest, was found dead with multiple stab wounds in his bathroom.
Sergei Protasenya, the latest suspicious death, allegedly had a “perfect family”, according to a Moscow report.
A source has claimed he doesn’t believe the executive killed his family, said a Telegram channel Toad and Viper, covering corruption.
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