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The former commander-in-chief of Russia’s ground forces, Alexei Maslov, has reportedly died in a military hospital, according to his defense company’s telegram channel, making him the second top-ranking military officer to die in as many days.
The retired army general was said to be serving as a special representative of military-technical cooperation for Uralvagonzavod, Russia’s largest tank manufacturer, when he died “unexpectedly” last week.
While various non-mainstream media channels have reported his death, there has been no official confirmation, and no cause of death has been given.
Maslov was appointed by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin as Russia’s military representative to NATO in 2008, according to the Standard.
The mysterious death has come just two days after Putin abruptly canceled his first visit to Uralvagonzavod since 2019. The president was scheduled to fly into Yekaterinburg last week before heading to Nizhny Tagil to meet with staffers at the tank factory. Uralvagonzavod workers have reportedly been working round the clock as they struggle to fill orders for the war against Ukraine.
Maslov’s death comes just a day after Alexander Buzakov, the director general of Admiralty Shipyards, died suddenly from unknown causes. Buzako had previously told Russian state media his company was getting ready to fulfill a Defense Ministry order for diesel-powered submarines capable of launching Kalibr cruise missiles similar to the ones Moscow has been using for months to launch attacks on Ukraine.
This year has witnessed the death of several Russian oligarchs and military officers. Back in September, the chairman of Russia's Lukoil oil giant, Ravil Maganov, died after allegedly falling from a hospital window. According to Russian media, Maganov, aged 67, was being treated at Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital and died of his injuries. What makes his death controversial is the fact that he was the eighth high-profile business executive to die in mysterious circumstances.
Lukoil is Russia's second largest oil company, produces more than 2% of the world's crude oil and employs over 100,000 people. Lukoil emerged as a rare high profile voice of dissent against the invasion of Ukraine, expressing its sympathy to victims of "this tragedy."
In a joint statement to shareholders, staff and customers, the company's board of directors said that it was "calling for the soonest termination of the armed conflict. We express our sincere empathy for all victims, who are affected by this tragedy. We strongly support a lasting ceasefire and a settlement of problems through serious negotiations and diplomacy."
By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com
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Alex Kimani is a veteran finance writer, investor, engineer and researcher for Safehaven.com.