Another mystery death in Russia as space chief becomes fourth senior official to die in a matter of DAYS

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DEATH RIDDLE 

Another mystery death in Russia as space chief becomes fourth senior official to die in a matter of DAYS

  • Published: 6:35 ET, Dec 30 2022
  • Updated: 8:18 ET, Dec 30 2022

ONE of Vladimir Putin’s top engineers has died suddenly aged 74, the latest death among Russia’s military and scientific elite this year.

Vladimir Nesterov, who designed the Russian Angara rocket, was accused of massive embezzlement just before his death aged 74.

Vladimir Nesterov, top Russian rocket scientist, has died aged 74
Vladimir Nesterov, top Russian rocket scientist, has died aged 74Credit: East2West
Nesterov designed Russia's Angara rocket pad system
Nesterov designed Russia’s Angara rocket pad systemCredit: East2West
He was facing a criminal probe by Putin's officials for fraud & embezzlement
He was facing a criminal probe by Putin’s officials for fraud & embezzlementCredit: East2West

The man who made Putin‘s dreams of space exploration possible with the creation of the “world’s best” rocket pads was under a cloud of suspicion this year.

Formerly the director of Russia’s prestigious Khrunichev Centre, Nesterov was the brains behind the Angara rockets, which Putin hoped to use to pioneer Russian space travel.

Russia’s first manned mission to the moon is in development, off the back of Nesterov’s designs.

But the later years of his life have been dogged by allegations of fraud and embezzlement.

A criminal case was first launched in 2014 and led to Nesterov being detained under house arrest.

Putin’s authorities accused him of pocketing more than £57m as part of the crime.

But his embezzlement case hadn’t reached court at the time of his death.

Previously, the former director was seen internationally as a leader in his field and hailed the Angara as the “world’s best” rocket system.

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His cause of death has not been released.

He is the fourth senior Russian official to die in a matter of days and follows a string of deaths of high-profile Putin associates since the start of the war in Ukraine.

On Christmas Day, a Russian tank boss died just hours af

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