Mikhail Lesin Death: Vladimir Putin’s Former Press Minister Found Dead in Washington Hotel
Vladimir Putin’s former aide Mikhail Lesin has been found dead in a hotel in Washington DC, Russian state media say.
Mikhail Lesin, 57, Russia’s former press minister and a one-time head of the powerful Gazprom-Media Holding group, died on November 5, the RIA-Novosti and Tass news agencies report.
Russian media, quoting Mikhail Lesin’s family, said he suffered a heart attack.
According to the Washington Post, Mikhail Lesin’s body was found in a room at the Dupont Circle hotel.
Police are investigating the Russian’s death.
In 2014, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker called for an investigation into Mikhail Lesin, saying his fortune “raises serious questions”.
In a letter to the US Department of Justice, Senator Roger Wicker said Mikhail Lesin bought a $28 million property in Los Angeles for his family after finishing work as a civil servant.
Roger Wicker asked how a former civil servant would have been able to buy and maintain expensive property, and expressed concern their purchase may have involved people and groups on a US sanctions list.
Mikhail Lesin was for a long time considered one of the most influential figures in the Russian media market and in the corridors of power.
He worked as an aide to the Russian presidency between 2004 and 2009, when he helped advise on the creation of the news channel Russia Today.
President Vladimir Putin hailed “the enormous contribution made by Mikhail Lesin to the formation of modern Russian media”, according to Tass.
In 2014, Mikhail Lesin was accused of trying to force a radio station in which he was a shareholder to cut an interview with opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
Roger Wicker’s letter said Mikhail Lesin “led the Kremlin’s effort to censor Russia’s independent television outlets”.
Mikhail Lesin, who resigned from Gazprom-Media in 2014, leaves a wife, son and daughter, the Ria-Novosti agency said.