The head of a shipyard producing warships and submarines for Russia’s Defense Ministry has died suddenly at the age of 66—just the latest in a long line of powerful figures to croak mysteriously in recent months.
Alexander Buzakov was praised for overseeing some of Admiralty Shipyards’ most “complex orders” in a statement from United Shipbuilding Corporation announcing his death on Saturday.
“The United Shipbuilding Corporation, the Admiralty Shipyards and the entire national shipbuilding industry have suffered an irreparable loss, as Alexander Sergeevich Buzakov, Director General of the Admiralty Shipyards, passed away at the age of 66,” the corporation said in a statement.
Russia’s TASS news agency reported that the corporation said his “untimely” death had occurred “tragically,” but no cause of death was given, nor any details about where he died.
The corporation noted that Buzakov’s “main achievement” since taking the helm at one of Russia’s oldest and largest shipyards in 2011 was “the preservation and strengthening of positions in the market of modern non-nuclear submarines, surface ships and deep-sea equipment.”
In 2019, Buzakov told Interfax that Admiralty Shipyards was eager to begin producing diesel-powered submarines capable of launching Kalibr cruise missiles—the same ones Moscow has been using for months to indiscriminately kill civilians in Ukraine.
“We’re ready,” he said, adding that the company was “counting on” signing a contract with the Defense Ministry in 2020.
For his work, Buzakov was routinely rewarded by the Russian government with top honors, including two For the Merit of the Fatherland medals and the Order of Naval Merit.
St. Petersburg Gov. Alexander Beglov, in comments published by Kommersant, hailed Buzakov as a crucial figure for the country’s defense sector.
“His personal responsibility was great in fulfilling the most important government orders, primarily defense ones,” Beglov was quoted saying. “The fact that our country turned out to be prepared for confrontation with the West is a significant part of his work. Russia now has a powerful military and civilian fleet.”