High-ranking Russian GRU officer and brother of Ukrainian presidential advisor dies under mysterious circumstances in Moscow

On 19 May, Vladimir Podolyak, brother of Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, passed away in Moscow, Russia. According to various media reports, his address was listed as military unit 22177, the Russian Ministry of Defence academy, which trains military diplomats and officers for the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.

Vladimir Podolyak worked in the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. The community "KIU. Russian Officers killed in Ukraine" published a photo of his grave on social media X.

Mykhailo Podolyak's older brother died on 19 May 2024, aged 59, under unknown circumstances. Details surrounding his death remain undisclosed.

A wreath on his grave bore the inscription "From the CPS team", referring to the Centre for Specialist Training of the GRU. The investigative team noted that Senior Podolyak had been living in Moscow since 1986 or 1987.

The death of a high-ranking GRU officer, who had family ties to a close associate of the Ukrainian president, might raise suspicions despite his retirement status. He could have died of natural causes, an accident, or illness. Ukrainian special services were undoubtedly aware of this.

According to the Russian media outlet SOTA, the fact of Vladimir Podolyak's death is confirmed by an open inheritance case noted by a Moscow notary.

Mykhailo Podolyak commented on his brother's presence in Russia in February 2024. He explained that his brother had chosen to live in another country during the Soviet era and that he no longer keeps in touch with him.

Claims about Vladimir Podolyak's employment within Russian special services have been denied by Mykhailo Podolyak. He has asserted that his relatives never worked for the FSB or KGB, questioning, "If someone is 60 years old, and I’m 51, should I be responsible for other people's actions?" .

According to the project "Vot Tak," publicly available data suggests that Vladimir Podolyak, born on 4 February 1965, resided in Moscow. His registered address was military unit 22177 on Narodnogo Opolcheniya Street, 50. This location is referred to as the "Conservatory" — the Military Academy of the Ministry of Defence, which trains military diplomats and GRU officers, journalists point out.

In an interview with "Glavkom" on 23 June 2021, Mykhailo Podolyak acknowledged that his older brother had long since become an ordinary military pensioner. He neither confirmed nor denied his brother's connections to the GRU, Glavkom reports.

"Regarding communication… Firstly, there is practically none at present. I might call him on his birthday, and that's all. There are many ideological and organisational reasons for this. Secondly, I see no reason to reject family, even if our ideologies are categorically different. Even if I am strictly opposed to any ideology hostile to my country, particularly modern Russian ideology," he remarked.

  War in Ukraine, Podolyak, Russia