Russian ex-army chief dies suddenly after Putin snubs visit to his tank factory

28 December 2022, 13:23 | Updated: 28 December 2022, 14:09

General Alexei Maslov (left) and Vladimir Putin
General Alexei Maslov (left) and Vladimir Putin. Picture: US Government/Alamy

By Will Taylor

The former chief of the Russian army has died after apparently being snubbed by Vladimir Putin – at a time when more focus than ever has been placed on sudden deaths of prominent Russians.

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General Alexei Maslov, who was in charge of the Russian ground forces between 2004 and 2008, passed away “suddenly”, the Uralvagonzavod machine building company said. 

The tank manufacturer did not elaborate further. 

He died on Christmas Day, one day after Putin was reportedly due to visit the tank factory in Nizhny Tagil but cancelled at the last minute. 

No official reason was given for the sudden decision to scrap the trip. The sudden death will only fuel speculation surrounding deaths of notable Russians throughout 2022. 

Read more: Russian businessman who criticised Ukraine invasion dies after falling from window of luxury hotel

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Recently, Alexander Buzakov, who was the director of an organisation building new submarines, died aged 65. 

And it has emerged that Pavel Antov, a businessman who ran a meat production firm, fell out of a window on the third floor of a luxury hotel in India, where he was staying ahead of his 66th birthday. 

He had previously criticised Russian missile attacks on Ukraine as “terrorism” before later claiming his WhatsApp post was sent by someone else, and insisting he supported Putin and the objectives of the war.

Indian police said they believed he may have taken his own life after his friend died in the same hotel, while Russia’s consul-general in Calcutta insisted there was nothing suspicious about the death. 

Other businessman said to have been critical of Putin or the war have died in recent months – with some suggesting foul play. 

Among them was Mikhail Watford, who was found dead at his home in Surrey, and Ravil Maganov, the chairman of energy giant Lukoil, who apparently fell from a window of a hospital in Moscow.

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