Putin Ally Dies After Falling Down Stairs on Day of Russia Mobilization

The former head of the Moscow Aviation Institute has died after falling down "several flights of stairs," the institute reported Wednesday.

Scientist Anatoly Gerashchenko, 72, "fell from a great height," according to the university, which described his death in the Russian capital as an accident.

The institute also said paramedics were called to the scene but pronounced Gerashchenko dead in the same location. The place where he reportedly fell to his death is still unknown.

"At the moment, a commission is being formed to investigate this fact, which will include representatives of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, the State Labor Inspectorate in Moscow and the Moscow Aviation Institute," the university told Russia's state news agency Tass.

Gerashchenko had been the rector of the Moscow Aviation Institute, which has links to the Russian defense ministry, from 2007 to 2015. Recent reports in the Russian media said Gerashchenko had been working as an adviser to the current rector, Mikhail Pogosyan.

Gerashchenko is the latest of several Russian businessmen, prominent figures and former allies of Vladimir Putin who have died in mysterious circumstances since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, and the third this month.

Anatoly Gerashchenko
Anatoly Gerashchenko, the former head of Moscow's Aviation Institute (MAI), was found dead on September 21 after reportedly falling from "a great height." Telegram

Only a week ago, the body of businessman Ivan Pechorin was reportedly found dead in the city of Vladivostok in Russia's far east. The death of Pechorin, the top manager for the Far East and Arctic Development Corporation, was reported by his company on September 12.

According to Russian news agency RIA Novosti, Pechorin drowned.

"Ivan's death is an irreparable loss for friends and colleagues, a great loss for the corporation. We offer our sincere condolences to family and friends," a statement from the company reads.

At the beginning of the month, Ravil Maganov, chairman of Russia's second-largest oil producer and biggest private oil company Lukoil, was found dead after falling from the window of a hospital in Moscow, according to reports in Russian media.

A list of all the Russian officials and public figures who have died under mysterious circumstances since the beginning of the war in Ukraine can be found here.

Gerashchenko's death was announced on the day Putin declare partial mobilization in Russia. His decree includes a plan to call up some 300,000 reservists to help the Kremlin meet its operational goals in Ukraine.

One-way flights from Moscow to visa-free countries were sold out within minutes of Putin's televised address. Protests against the mobilization order were seen in a number of Russian cities.

Update, 9/21/2022 10:30 a.m. ET: This breaking news article has been updated with further context.