Tags: Russia | Earnest | Lesin | Putin

Mystery Surrounds Death of Putin's Czar

Mystery Surrounds Death of Putin's Czar
D.C. hotel where Mikhail Lesin was found. (AP)  

By Wednesday, 16 March 2016 09:37 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Russia is at odds over the details of its propaganda minister's death.

While shocking, given autopsy reports, what’s even more bizarre is the silent treatment from the White House over the death of Vladimir Putin’s czar, Mikhail Lesin.

Citing information based on an American source close to the intelligence agencies, Laure Mandeville, onetime Moscow bureau chief for the French daily Le Figaro, wrote on Monday that “Mikhail Lesin had been and still was [at the time of his death] a key backchannel of contact and information between Moscow and Washington, under [the late President Boris] Yeltsin and under Putin.”

Four days ago, an autopsy concluded that the media mogul’s death Nov. 5 resulted from a blow to the back of his head rather than a heart attack, as was widely reported in the Russian press.

Is this anything the administration cares to comment on, I asked press secretary Josh Earnest at the Tuesday afternoon briefing for reporters at the White House?

“This is a situation that continues to be investigated by local law enforcement authorities,” Earnest told me, “I understand the Metropolitan Police Department here in Washington, D.C. continues to investigate that crime which may have occurred here in Washington. They are taking a close look at it.”

The White House had no comment today on the latest development surrounding the mysterious death in a Washington, D.C. hotel room of Mikhail Lesin, who was also press secretary to Putin and founder of the Russian Today (RT) TV network.

The president’s top spokesman added that “I know the FBI offered its assistance in that investigation, but I don’t have any comment on it beyond that.”

Earnest’s answer comes as speculation mounts among seasoned Kremlin watchers that there may be reasons dealing with political maneuvering in Moscow behind Lesin’s death.

Mandeville also pointed out that Lesin had not been placed on the Magnitsky List, which authorizes personal sanctions against Russian individuals for the death of Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.

”Why?” she wrote, “Was it because he represented a channel of information too precious in the context of the very tense relations between the U.S. and the Russia, and at a time of growing disagreements between clans in the Kremlin?”

"Simply Stalin Soviet," concluded A. Craig Copetas, a former Visiting Scholar at the Harriman Institute of Advanced Russian Study at Columbia University and author of “Bear Hunting with the Politburo.” "As Dwight Eisenhower reportedly said, 'Things are more like they are now than they ever were before.'"

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.


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Russia is at odds over the details of its propaganda minister's death.
Earnest, Lesin, Putin
Wednesday, 16 March 2016 09:37 AM
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