Support The Moscow Times!

No Plea Bargain for Snowplow Driver Involved in Death of Total CEO

Prosecutors have turned down a requested plea bargain for a man implicated in the airport runway collision that killed a French oil executive in Moscow in October, state news agency RIA Novosti reported Wednesday, citing the suspect's lawyer.

Vladimir Martynenko was operating the snowplow that collided with the private jet of Christophe de Margerie, the CEO of oil giant Total, on the runway of Moscow's Vnukovo Airport on the night of Oct. 20. The aircraft caught fire, killing de Margerie and three French crew members on board.

Martynenko's lawyer, Alexander Karabanov, told the Izvestia newspaper earlier this week that his client was ready to admit partial guilt in exchange for leniency by prosecutors.

In October, Martynenko was charged with violating transportation safety regulations. He faces up to seven years in prison.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.