Russian Intrigue: Long-time Adviser to Vladimir Putin is Found Dead in DC Hotel Room

Russian Intrigue: Long-time Adviser to Vladimir Putin is Found Dead in DC Hotel Room

The 57 year-old ex-head of Gazprom-Media Holdings, the state-controlled media giant that describes itself as one of the largest media groups in Russia and Europe, Mikhail Lesin, was found dead yesterday in The Dupont Circle Hotel in DC. The cause of death being put out there is a heart attack. Of course, it’s never terrorism and it’s always a heart attack when someone like this dies suddenly. This is the founder of Russia Today… the propaganda outlet for Russia. Lesin served as Russian press minister from 1999 to 2004 and presidential media adviser from 2004 to 2009, controlling and guiding Russia Today. He left Gazprom-Media last year after only being there a year, citing family reasons. No one seems to know why he was in DC. Curious.

Putin Adviser

From ABC News:

A prominent Russian millionaire with high-level ties to the Kremlin has been found dead inside a Washington hotel, a Russian official and a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

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Mikhail Lesin, the former head of media affairs for the Russian government who’s been accused of curtailing the country’s press freedoms, had been staying at The DuPont Circle Hotel when he was found Thursday, according to officials.

It’s unclear why the long-time adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Washington, but the Metropolitan Police Department is now investigating his death. On Thursday, U.S. authorities notified the Russian embassy in Washington that one of its citizens had died, and Russian officials are now working with American authorities to determine the circumstances of the death, the embassy told ABC News in a statement.

Citing an ongoing investigation, an MPD spokesman would only confirm the department is conducting a “death investigation.”

Lesin is credited with creating Russia Today, the English-language news network backed by the Russian government. Now known as RT, the network “provides an alternative perspective on major global events, and acquaints an international audience with the Russian viewpoint,” according to its website.

Lesin “led the Kremlin’s efforts to censor Russia’s independent television outlets,” one U.S. lawmaker charged last year.

In fact, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), called on the Justice Department to launch an investigation into Lesin over allegations of corruption and money laundering.

In a letter to then-Attorney General Eric Holder, Wicker said Lesin had “acquired multi-million dollar assets” in Europe and the United States “during his tenure as a civil servant,” including multiple residences in Los Angeles worth $28 million.

“That a Russian public servant could have amassed the considerable funds required to acquire and maintain these assets in Europe and the United States raises serious questions,” Wicker wrote.

It’s unclear if the FBI ever begun a probe.

From 1999 to 2004, Lesin served as Russia’s Minister of Press, Television and Radio, often traveling with Putin on official trips. In 2013, he became head of Gazprom-Media Holding, the state-controlled media giant that describes itself as one of the largest media groups in Russia and Europe. Lesin resigned the next year, reportedly citing family reasons.

Wonder if he was glowing when they found him? If I were coming up with a theory, I would bet he was cutting a deal to stay in the US and was turning on Putin. He then had an unfortunate turn of health resulting in death. That happens to a lot of people around Putin, particularly the ones that cross him. Lesin had a lot of money and a lot of holdings and you can bet he didn’t come by all that honestly. That’s not how things are done in Russia. He also knew far too much. Whispers of corruption and money laundering were the kindest it got out there concerning his dealings. This man was a media censor, a mafia-like strongman and Putin’s confidant. It doesn’t take an overly strong imagination to come up with a scenario that involved a contrived death. Russian intrigue in DC… any bets on Obama being involved?

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is an editor and writer for Right Wing News. She owns and blogs at She is a Constitutional Conservative and NoisyRoom focuses on political and national issues of interest to the American public. Terresa is the editor at Trevor Loudon's site, New Zeal - She also does research at You can email Terresa here. NoisyRoom can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

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