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Five Russian deaths since Christmas Eve from window fall and ‘untimely’ accident

Five leading Russians have now died in mysterious circumstances since Christmas Eve.

Russian state-run news agency TASS reported on Wednesday (December 28) that space chief Vladimir Evgenievich Nesterov had died.

Nesterov, 73, was the former general director of the Moscow-based Khrunichev Center, a manufacturer of spacecraft and space-launch systems.

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According to TASS, Nesterov had been the subject of a criminal investigation and was charged with embezzling 5.6million rubles (£63,850).

The case was set to go to a retrial.

Nesterov's death came after that of Russian sausage magnate and politician Pavel Antov, 65, at a hotel in India on Christmas Day.

The millionaire's friend Vladimir Bidenov, 61, died at the hotel on Friday (December 23), reportedly from a heart attack.

Reports in Russia claimed Antov had fallen from a window, with Superintendent Vivekananda Sharma of Odisha police saying he "was depressed after his [Bidenov's] death and he too died".

Alexei Idamkin, the Russian consul in Kolkata, told TASS that police did not see a "criminal element in these tragic events", although investigations are ongoing.

The fact that both bodies have already been cremated has drawn suspicion, with Indian politician Manish Tewari saying: "If this not unnatural death then I did not go to law school… burnt bodies tell no tales."

In June, Antov was forced to pledge support for Vladimir Putin and denied posting an anti-war message on WhatsApp, blaming an "unfortunate misunderstanding and a technical error".

He made his wealth as the founder of Russian meat conglomerate Vladimir Standard.

Antov wasn't the only notable death on Christmas Day as the former commander-in-chief of Russia’s ground forces passed away in Moscow.

General Alexei Maslov, 70, was an ambassador for Uralvagonzavod, a military firm specialising in battle tanks.

According to local reports, Putin was set to fly to the plant in Nizhny Tagil – which had been criticised by the Kremlin for not producing enough tanks for use in Ukraine – on Christmas Eve.

But the warmonger cancelled the visit "at the last minute" with no explanation – and Maslov died one day later in a military hospital. It is not clear exactly how.

Uralvagonzavod announced his passing on Telegram and claimed he "remained faithful" to Russia "until his last day".

His passing came one day after that of another high-ranking Russian defence official.

Alexander Buzakov, 66, was general director of Admiralty Shipyards in St Petersburg, producing warships and submarines for Russia’s Defence Ministry.

The United Shipbuilding Corporation announced his death in a statement, describing it as an "irreparable loss".

According to TASS, the firm said Buzakov's death was "untimely" and had occurred "tragically".

No cause of death or details about where he died have been released.

The FSB security service formed an “investigative group” following Buzakov and Maslov's deaths, according to the Redacted Number 6 Telegram channel.

It reportedly found Buzakov had been healthy the day before he died and "nothing had been heard about Maslov's health problems" prior to his death.

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