Back in early November we reported that in a shocking twist of events, Mikhail Lesin - a close ally of Putin and the man credited with "inspiring" the creation of Russia Today - was found dead on an upper floor in The Dupont Circle hotel in DC. Lesin was Russia’s Minister of Press, Television and Radio from 1999 to 2004 and also served as Putin’s media adviser. In 2013 he assumed a role as an executive at Gazprom-Media.
What was strange about Lesin's death, is that nobody knew, or revealed, why Lesin was in Washington in the first place.
What was just as strange, is that Lesin's death has been written off to the ubiquitous, unexplained placeholder "heart attack." Russia's RIA Novosti, a state news agency, quoted a family member confirming the death and saying it was from a heart attack."
The outlet Lesin himself created, Russia Today, suggested that Lesin had been suffering from a prolonged illness.
Could there be more to this story? Certainly, as Lesin did not have an unblemished past.
As Sputnik reported at the time, "Lesin was not without his sins, and was involved in the dirty media games of late 90s Russia. As RIA Novosti recalled, the media guru was rumored to have played a key role in the creation of a secret tape compromising former Prosecutor General Yuri Skuratov. Hidden camera video of the prosecutor general, who was known as a bitter adversary of Yeltsin, and who was conducting an aggressive investigation into several large cases of government corruption, was broadcast on federal television, featuring Skuratov rolling around in bed with two young women, who turned out to be prostitutes. Ultimately, the scandal resulted in the prosecutor general's resignation."
And then in December 2014: "The head of Russia’s Gazprom-Media holding, Mikhail Lesin, has officially turned in his application to resign, Gazprom’s press service said Friday. “Mikhail Lesin has turned in a request to remove him from the post of Gazprom-Media chairman citing family issues. This request will be considered at the next Gazprom-Media board meeting." Forbes Russia said "individuals" claimed that the decision was made personally by President Vladimir Putin. For the sake of brevity we won't go into the entire story, but we encourage readers to do their own research on Ekho Moskvy and Lesin.
At the time, all this seemed confusing to us:
We're no doctors, and we're also not trying to suggest that Lesin wasn't sick, but what's particularly odd about the mainstream media's coverage of this story (and by the way, this applies to the Russian media as well), is that no one seems to think it's strange that a Russian media mogul died in a DC hotel room from an apparent "heart attack" just as relations between Washington and Moscow have deteriorated to a post-Cold War low and just as sites like RT and Sputnik are becoming increasingly prominent among Western readers amid The Kremlin's air campaign in Syria. And to top it all off, no one knows why Lesin was in the city in the first place.
We concluded as follows: "The takeaway here is that Lesin was most assuredly a "somebody", and when a "somebody" dies in a DC hotel room of a mysterious "heart attack" and no one knows what that "somebody" was doing in DC in the first place, you may want to start asking questions with regard to the official narrative regardless of where that narrative originates." We added that "Of course we could be wrong."
We were right.
As the WSJ reports overnight, four months after Lesin's unexplained death, not only did it have nothing to do with a heart attack, but it was the result of “blunt force injuries of the head” according to the office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
In other words, he was murdered.
The D.C. medical examiner’s office issued a terse, one-page statement on its findings from the investigation. It said “other contributing causes” to the death included “blunt force injuries of the neck, torso, upper extremities and lower extremities.”
The police said they have not yet ruled the death as a homicide, but as a reported death. “It’s an open investigation,” said Officer Hugh Carew, a police spokesman. “We’re not commenting further.”
It still remains a mystery why Mr. Lesin was staying at a relatively downscale hotel near Dupont Circle at the time of his death last November.
Here WSJ insinuates that comparable to other "foes" of Putin, Lesin was quietly taken out by the Russian president. There is just one glitch with that theory: Lesin was on good terms with the Kremlin in general, and Putin in particular.
Lesin's low media profile does not help. The only time he made waves on US soil, was when a U.S. senator recently asked federal authorities to investigate whether Mr. Lesin had used ill-gotten gains to buy expensive California real estate.
The senator, Roger Wicker, a Republican from Mississippi, asked the Justice Department to probe whether Mr. Lesin’s purchases violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It is not clear whether an investigation was launched, and Mr. Wicker’s office did not comment Thursday night.
In his request, Mr. Wicker wrote that “following his government service, Mr. Lesin moved his immediate family to Los Angeles, California, where he acquired multiple residences at a cost of over $28 million.” That a Russian public servant had raised such sums, Mr. Wicker wrote, “raises serious questions.”
Strange then that when Chinese "public servants" launder stolen or otherwise "hot" money and buy up half of San Francisco or New York, nobody bats an eyelid.
As for Lesin, we were right when we predicted in November that his "heart attack" death excuse was a lie. We will be also right when we predict now that the killer will never be uncovered.