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Russian Energy Tycoon Dies From Toad Poison

A former executive with Russia’s Lukoil has died after a session with a local shaman attempted to alleviate the symptoms of a severe hangover with venom from a toad. It is at least the sixth unusual death of Russian energy executives this year. The string of deaths has led some to suspect that there is a purge of current and former energy-related executives in Russia.

Alexandr Subbotin--Lukoil

According to TASS, which cited police sources, Alexandr Subbotin, who had sat on the board of Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil producer, had a cardiac arrest following the administration of toad poison as a hangover treatment.

Emergency services received a call saying Subbotin had lost consciousness on May 8, the police told TASS. The doctor sent to the address only confirmed the death of the former oil executive. The police have opened a criminal investigation into the case.

Subbotin’s host, Alexey Pindiurin, who also goes by the monicker Shaman Magwa, told the police that Subbotin came to his house in a state of heavy alcohol and drug intoxication. According to unconfirmed reports, the death followed a shamanic ritual for the treatment of that intoxication that involved the use of toad venom, according to The Independent.

Vladislav Avayev--Gazprombank

Last month, a former vice president at Russian bank Gazprombank—the bank at the center of Russia’s rubles-for-gas payment scheme—killed his wife and daughter before killing himself in their Moscow apartment, police in Moscow say, according to Russian media.

Avayev, 51, also a former Kremlin official, shot his wife and 13-year-old daughter before shooting himself, according to police, who concluded that the incident was a murder-suicide. The bodies were found by the 26-year-old daughter of the couple, Daily Mail reported. The bodies were found with gunshot wounds while Vladislav Avayev—a multi-millionaire—had a gun in his hand, according to Moscow police.

Sergey Protosenya--Novatek

Just days after Avayev’s suspected murder-suicide, Sergey Protosenya and his family were also found dead—this time in Spain. Protosenya worked at Russia’s top independent gas producer Novatek from 1997 to 2015. Protosenya’s mother and daughter were reportedly stabbed to death, while Sergey Protosenya had apparently hanged himself.

Leonid Shulman—Gazprom Invest

Alexander Tyulyakov--Gazprom

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But before all that, two former Gazprom executives, Leonid Shulman and Alexander Tyulyakov, were also found dead earlier this year. Shulman was found dead by apparent suicide in January—the suicide note referencing a pain in his broken leg. Tyulyakov was found hanged in his garage a day after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Mikhail Watford, another Russian oil tycoon, was found hanged in early March in his Surrey mansion.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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