Russian ex-spy chief found dead in stairwell with Soviet-era gun after fellow Kremlin spook dies in eerily similar case

A FORMER Russian spy chief has been found dead in the stairwell of an apartment in an apparent suicide, just weeks after his fellow Kremlin boss died in the same mysterious circumstances.

Both men were found dead next to a TT-30 Tokarev, an out-of-production Soviet semi-automatic pistol, and both deaths were put down to vague “financial” troubles by Russian authorities.


The body of a Russian spy was found in the entrance of a Moscow apartment building
Lev Sotskov allegedly committed suicide in similar circumstances last month


Lev Sotskov allegedly committed suicide in similar circumstances last monthCredit: AFP
A former Soviet service pistol, a TT-30 Tokarev, was found next to both bodies


A former Soviet service pistol, a TT-30 Tokarev, was found next to both bodiesCredit: Getty – Contributor

The body of retired FSB general Yevgeny Lobachev, 76, was discovered in the entrance to an apartment building in southeast Moscow on Wednesday, according to Russian news agency REN TV.

His wife called the police to say her husband had gone for a walk in the morning but never returned home.

Russian publication The FTimes reported that the ex-KGB man had been suffering from health problems and had experienced “financial difficulties”.

“The cause of death was suicide,” a source told Russian state media agency TASS.

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It claims that Lobachev shot himself with a TT-30 pistol, also known as a Tokarev, a Soviet-era service pistol which was issued between 1930 and 1952 when it was replaced by the Makarov.

Law enforcement agencies are said to be investigating the death, which has eerie similarities to the death of a fellow former spy less than a month ago.

On June 15, former Major General of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Lev Sotskov was found dead in his apartment.

He was 90 years and, according to Russian official sources, had also reportedly been suffering from unspecified health conditions.

Recruited by the KGB in 1959, Sotskov worked as a spy for more than 40 years and was involved in operations identifying and attacking British politicians and spies.

Just as with Lobachev, a TT pistol was found next to his body.

In a note discovered at the scene, Sotskov reportedly wrote that he had used the archaic weapon because it held a special significance to him, having been presented as a gift when he was an envoy to the Mongolian secret service, reports IB Times.

The note read: “The pistol is a relic of the battles on the Khalkhin-Gol River. I received it when I was an envoy to the Mongolian secret service, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Ulan-Bator, in 1989. – L. Sotskov.”

Lobachev and Sotskov are the latest high-profile Russian figures to be found dead in mysterious circumstances since the start of the war with Ukraine.

The cause of death was suicide

Russian security source

In April, the bodies of a top Russian banker and his family were discovered at his Moscow apartment, after the bank had been slapped with Western sanctions.

Vladislav Avayev, 51, was found dead along with his wife Yelena, 47, and his 13-year-old daughter Maria at their home in the Russian capital.

Avayev was formerly the vice-president of Gazprombank, Russia’s third-largest bank and one of the main channels for payments for Russian oil and gas.

A number of Russian oligarchs have died since the beginning of the conflict, including at least four gas industry executives.

In chilling echoes of Avayev’s death, Russian tycoon Sergey Protosenya, 55, his wife Natalya, 53, and his 18-year-old daughter Maria were discovered dead at their luxury Spanish villa.

Protosenya, who boasted a fortune of over £333million, did not leave a suicide note before allegedly hanging himself in the courtyard.

Natalia and Maria had been hacked to death in their beds with an axe in the Lloret de Mar on Spain’s Costa Brava, according to reports.

Police found the gruesome scene after the couple’s teenage son, who was in France at the time, raised concerns.

A number of former Putin allies have died in mysterious circumstances this year


A number of former Putin allies have died in mysterious circumstances this yearCredit: EPA
Banker Vladislav Avayev was found dead alongside his wife and daughter in April


Banker Vladislav Avayev was found dead alongside his wife and daughter in AprilCredit: East2West
Sergey Protosenya, his wife and daughter were found dead in their Spanish mansion


Sergey Protosenya, his wife and daughter were found dead in their Spanish mansionCredit: East2west News

Meanwhile, just one day after Putin’s bloody invasion, the body of energy giant Gazprom’s deputy general director Alexander Tyulakov was found.

His hung body was discovered by his lover in his £500,000 home in Leningrad.

But according to reports, he had been badly beaten before his death – raising speculation over how he died.

While weeks before the invasion on January 29, Gazprom exec Leonid Shulman’s mutilated body was discovered on the bathroom floor at the same gated housing development where Tyulakov was later found.

He was discovered with multiple stab wounds in a pool of blood, next to a note, although a knife found in the bathtub would have too out-of-reach for the wounds to be self-inflicted.

Many other former close allies of Putin have either died, been jailed, or disappeared from the public eye in recent months, as rumours swirl of a possible coup.

Last month, a CIA insider claimed a coup to overthrow Putin could already be underway.

Former CIA Moscow station chief Daniel Hoffman claimed Putin’s cronies will look to secretly overthrow the president if his invasion of Ukraine starts to go south.

“These guys that are going to do it are going to be so secret about it so that Putin doesn’t find them and kill them first,” Hoffman said.

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“It’ll happen all of a sudden. And he’ll be dead.”

He told The Daily Beast: “Nobody’s gonna ask, ‘Hey Vladimir, would you like to leave?’ No. It’s a f**king hammer to the head and he’s dead. Or it’s time to go to the sanatorium.”

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