Ex-Putin ally plunges ‘from great height’ to his death at Moscow aviation institute

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An aviation expert is the latest Russian official to die under mysterious circumstances.

Anatoly Gerashchenko, the former head of the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI), was killed Tuesday in a mysterious fall at the institute’s headquarters in the Russian capital.

The organization’s news agency released a statement describing the 73-year-old’s death as “the result of an accident”, adding that his untimely death was a “colossal loss to the MAI and the scientific and educational community”.

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Russian news channel Izvestia, citing an unnamed source, reported that Gerashchenko “fell from a great height” and ran down several flights of stairs. He was reportedly pronounced dead on the spot.

A committee is reportedly being set up at the institute to investigate the circumstances of his bizarre death.

Gerashchenko, who was recently an advisor to the current head of MAI, has spent his career in the ranks of the institute, which has close ties to Russia’s defense ministry. He was also honored with several awards from the Russian government, including the medal “Merit to the Fatherland”.

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His death comes less than two weeks after a director appointed to oversee development in Russia’s Far East died in a strange fall from a moving boat just days after attending an economic forum with Putin. They are just the latest in a series of strange deaths among officials and executives in Russia’s energy and technology industry.

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