Mysterious ‘accidental’ death of Putin’s former aide nicknamed ‘The Bulldozer’

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The mysterious death of one of Vladimir Putin’s former aides, nicknamed ‘The Bulldozer’, is one of many deaths in Russian politics that have been ruled accidental.

Mikhail Lesin, 57, was known for his aggressive control of Russian media, which was the reason behind his peculiar nickname.

On November 4, 2015, the 57-year-old was found dead in a hotel room in the US capital of Washington DC.

His body was discovered at a $240 (£181) a night hotel in Dupoint Circle – just a few streets away from the White House – after he failed to attend a gala honouring Russian billionaire and philanthropist Petr Aven.

Russia Today quoted an unnamed family member as claiming that he had died from a heart attack following a lengthy illness, but an examination discovered blunt force trauma to his head and injuries to his neck, torso, arms and legs.

But according to the police, Lesin injured himself in his hotel room “after days of excessive alcohol consumption”.

He "sustained the injures that resulted to his death while alone in his hotel room," the authorities announced and that his injuries "were induced by falls, with acute ethanol intoxication".

They said their conclusion was based on reviewing surveillance video from public areas in the hotel and interviewing witnesses.

‘The Bulldozer’ was a prominent Russian figure in Russian politics as a key aide to Putin, who publicly praised him after the death was discovered.

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He served as Putin’s press adviser between 1999 and 2004, while in 2013 he was appointed as head of state-controlled Gazprom-Media.

Lesin resigned only a year later however, when he had an apparent break with Putin's associates and in 2014 moved to Los Angeles.

Former KGB station chief Oleg Kalugin said he doubted Lesin had been murdered, because the Russians would never commit a political assassination on US soil – unlike the UK or any other country.

He said: "There were no political assassinations ever committed by the Soviets or the Russians on the territory of the United States. Anywhere else, any other country, but not the United States."

  • Vladimir Putin
  • Russia

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