WASHINGTON — A prominent Russian oil executive died Thursday morning after reportedly falling out of a hospital window in Moscow, stoking suspicions of foul play, given how frequently vocal critics of the Kremlin have been shot, poisoned or defenestrated.
In March, Lukoil criticized the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine launched at President Vladimir Putin’s insistence in late February. “We fully support its resolution through negotiations, by diplomatic means,” that statement said. It was a remarkable show of dissent in a nation where, even in peacetime, corporations and their leaders are expected to never contradict the Kremlin.
The company’s chairman, Vagit Alekperov, resigned the following month.
Maganov became chairman of Lukoil’s board in 2020, after three decades of ascending through its ranks.
His death took place at Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow, where the country’s power elite routinely receive treatment. Putin visited the hospital on the day of Maganov’s death to pay his respects to the late Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who died earlier this week.
People who knew Maganov said it was “highly unlikely he had committed suicide,” according to a Reuters report.
“Observers of such matters know that faulty windows are extremely common in the vicinity of Putin critics,” Nazir Afzal, a leading top British prosecutor, noted acidly on Twitter.
In April, oligarch Sergey Protosenya died under what some say are suspicious circumstances, as did banker Vladislav Avayev. The following month, former Lukoil executive Alexander Subbotin died after reportedly trying to treat a hangover with toad venom.
Last month, Putin critic Dan Rapoport died in Washington, D.C., in what law enforcement authorities said was a suicide. Some, however, are skeptical of that explanation. “I think the circumstances of his death are extremely suspicious,” Putin nemesis Bill Browder told Politico. “Whenever someone who is in a negative view of the Putin regime dies suspiciously, one should rule out foul play, not rule it in.”