Nuclear Scientist Found Hanged

Nuclear Scientist Found Hanged

( – Since January, Russia has been hit with a series of suicides, mostly involving prominent businessmen who’ve fallen out with President Vladimir Putin. Now there’s been another death — and this time, it’s one of the country’s most famous nuclear scientists. Is it linked to the earlier deaths, though?

On June 17, 92-year-old Grigory Klinishov hanged himself in his Moscow apartment. According to Russian officials, they found a suicide note beside his body; he’d recently been depressed after the death of his wife. Klinishov had been living quietly in retirement for decades, but in the 1950s, he was one of the most important men in the Soviet Union.

Klinishov graduated from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute in 1954 and was sent to work at the Ministry of Medium Machine Building — the cover name for the Soviet nuclear weapons program. There, he worked on the USSR’s first hydrogen bomb. He went on to work on other thermonuclear weapon designs, and received the Lenin Prize for his efforts.

Now he’s dead, and in Russia’s current climate, every suicide of a prominent person raises some doubts. At least eight businessmen have died suspiciously or in apparent suicides this year, often by falling from high windows. Four of the deceased men worked for Gazprom, Russia’s largest energy company. One allegedly stabbed his wife and two children to death before killing himself. One of them died at his home in England. Although there’s speculation that the men were killed because they had disagreements with Putin, there’s a lot of variation in the deaths and nothing that really links them beyond the fact they were prominent.

Klinishov was also prominent, but he had been retired for a long time and wasn’t in business. Is it really likely Putin would have killed him with a faked suicide — or is it more likely that a lonely old man just decided he’d had enough? Unfortunately, in today’s Russia, it’s impossible to say for sure.

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