With Rawil Maganov, another energy manager died in Russia. Moscow announces the fall was a suicide. But Putin biographer Sweeney has doubts about this version. In an interview with FOCUS online, he explains this and explains his thesis that Putin suffers from pleonexia.

Rawil Maganov’s mysterious death raises questions. According to Russian propaganda media, the 67-year-old who fell out of a hospital window last Thursday was a suicide. The official statement said: The CEO of the Russian oil company Lukoil had heart problems and depression. But for the British Putin biographer and BBC journalist John Sweeney, that is not very credible. The best-selling author of The Killer in the Kremlin says the top manager’s alleged suicide fits into the scheme of Putin’s killing methods.

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Because since the invasion of Ukraine, the most recent death is by no means the first among bosses of Russian energy companies. After two Gazprom managers, Alexander Subbotin died under dubious circumstances in May – he was Maganov’s boss at Lukoil. According to Russian media reports, the alcoholic took toad poison to fight a hangover and then died in a basement.

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On these mysterious deaths Sweeney: “It sounds to me like a classic case of the same killer strategies over and over again. These are typical methods in Putin’s police state, where, as is well known, independent journalists no longer exist.”

“Of course it’s possible that Maganow took his own life,” Sweeney admits. “And it’s also possible that he committed suicide because the pressure was too much for him. Because this man was under indescribable pressure. After all, Lukoil was on the Kremlin’s blacklist for many months. And there they know only too well how to really screw people up.” Sweeney considers another scenario to be no less likely: “It may just as well be that someone threw him out of the window.”

Possible reasons for Putin’s anger at the manager: A spokesman for the oil company called for an immediate end to the military attack in Ukraine in early March and publicly criticized the Russian invasion. A month later, Lukoil founder and company president Wagit Alekperow resigned. He was considered one of the richest men in Russia, but Britain had frozen his assets as part of the sanctions against Moscow. Maganov was Alekperov’s close associate and had worked for the company since 1993.

According to Sweeney, financial motives could also have played a role in Maganov’s death: “Putin’s common tactics include fraudulent legal remedies to literally steal a company from under someone’s feet with legal tricks. The Kremlin boss has done this countless times before and it could be the case here as well.” In this regard, Sweeney also emphasizes a thesis from his work The Killer in the Kremlin, according to which Putin suffers from pleonexia – a pathological version of greed: “He has a compulsive and almost insatiable urge to possess things that rightfully belong to others”, – in in this case possibly company money from Lukoil.

In the same context, the Putin biographer lists other characteristics of the Kremlin boss: “I would also draw parallels with Putin’s habit of always being late.” The Russian President is well known for always being late for meetings with others. “He loves to challenge people – even with these provocative delays. He always assumes that the others will fail.”

At the same time, Sweeney highlights reports that the KGB once judged the Kremlin chief to be inadequate in assessing risks. “His ability to assess threats was rated as insufficient. He always takes high risks.”

The West reacted accordingly wrong for years: “Far too many Western heads of state let him get away with it for far too long and time and time again, constantly turning a blind eye. Infinitely more credits have been given to Putin. So he just kept going and killing more and more people.” Sweeney’s scathing verdict: “The West failed utterly.”

Nevertheless, the longtime war correspondent, who is currently reporting from Kyiv, is optimistic. “Ukraine will win. In my entire career as a war correspondent, I have never seen soldiers with such fighting spirit.” According to Sweeney, he had also seen “good British and US soldiers” on previous missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. “But they were nothing compared to the men from the Ukrainian army that I see here. That’s why I firmly believe in Ukraine’s victory.”