The 50-year-old real estate mogul died in early December after allegedly falling down a flight of stairs during a visit with friends in the French Riviera town of Antibes.
Mr Zelenov died as a result of a head injury after falling ill during a group dinner in the early hours of the night.
The news was confirmed by Russian news channel Baza and local French publication Var Matin
Baza reported via Telegram that the oligarch had undergone surgery before his death, and it was reported that he was taken to hospital after the fall, but could not be saved by doctors.
Mr Zelenov made his fortune as a co-founder of real estate giant Don-Stroy in the mid-1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union, but the company suffered significant financial losses during the global financial crisis.
Within hours of the news of his death, attention began to focus on the uncanny similarities between his death and that of fellow Russian tycoon Anatoly Gerashchenko, who died in September after also falling down stairs.
The 73-year-old was the head of the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI), which is closely linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s defense ministry, and the “accident”, which the organization confirmed in a statement was issued in Moscow by the company. office manager.
However, they are just two of a series of strange deaths among Russian elites that began after Russia invaded Ukraine in February this year.
In September, the alleged “suicide” of Pavel Pchelnikov, an executive in the digital logistics branch of Russian Railways who had recently shared on social media happy photos taken from a family vacation, also made headlines.
Earlier that month, Lukoil oil company chairman Ravil Maganov died after falling from a Moscow hospital window, immediately sparking rumors that he may have been killed after his company spoke out in against war
In May, his fellow Lukoil executive Alexander Subbotin was also found dead.
In July, the body of Yuri Voronov, the head of a transport and logistics company linked to Russian energy giant Gazprom, was found in his swimming pool, while senior Gazprom officials Alexander Tyulakov and Leonid Shulman also died in beginning of the year
In April, former Kremlin official Vladislav Avayev died along with his wife and teenage daughter, and a few days later billionaire Sergey Protosenya was also found dead along with his wife and teenage daughter under similar circumstances eerily similar.
Meanwhile, the recent death of Putin confidant Ivan Pechorin, who fell overboard from his boat, also raised suspicions, as did the deaths of super-rich Yevgeny Palant and his wife.
All of these deaths were attributed to suicide, although there is growing suspicion that they may actually have been murdered.
In August, Darya Dugina, the 29-year-old daughter of Putin’s so-called “spiritual guide” Alexander Dugin, died in a car bomb fire in Moscow that many believe was aimed at her ultranationalist father, described as a brain of Ukraine. invasion
Then, just days later, a senior pro-Putin official was killed in another car bomb.
Ivan Sushko, 40, a married father of one who served as a civil servant in Ukraine’s occupied Zaporizhzhia region, also died after an explosion destroyed his car.
Just a day before Sushko’s death, another Russian leader narrowly survived an almost identical attempt on his life.
So far, Russian state media have claimed that the suspicious string of deaths were all accidents, suicides or assassinations at the hands of Russia’s enemies, including Ukraine; however, there are also growing rumors that KGB-trained President Vladimir Putin may be behind them. given that most of the victims had expressed criticism of the war shortly before their disappearance.
The killings have reportedly spooked Russia’s elites, with many now wondering who could be next on the hit list.
Originally published as Another Russian oligarch found dead under mysterious circumstances