Former Putin aide found dead in Irish-owned hotel

Body of former Kremlin minister Mikhail Lesin discovered in Washington premises

File photograph of  Mikhail Lesin. File photograph: Alexander Natruskin/Reuters
File photograph of Mikhail Lesin. File photograph: Alexander Natruskin/Reuters

Mikhail Lesin, a long-time aide to Russian president Vladimir Putin and a former Kremlin minister, was found dead on Thursday in the Irish-owned Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington.

The Russian embassy in Washington confirmed that Mr Lesin (57) was found unresponsive in his hotel room on Thursday morning.

Washington police have opened a “death investigation”.

Russia media said that there were no signs of foul play at the scene.

The family of the high-profile political figure and media expert told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that he died from a heart attack.

Local US media said that Mr Lesin was found in a luxury suite at the hotel at about 11.30am on Thursday.

The Russian embassy told ABC News that officials were working with the US authorities to determine the circumstances of his death.

It is not clear why Mr Lesin was visiting Washington.

The hotel, which was previously known as Jurys Washington, is part of the Doyle Collection and is owned by the Gallagher family, relatives of the Irish hotelier PV Doyle.

The hotel is close to many of the main embassies in Washington.

Kremlin career

Mr Lesin served as Russia’s minister of press and mass media from 1999 to 2004 and served as a presidential adviser from 2004 to 2009.

He became chief executive of Gazprom-Media, Russia’s largest media holding company in 2013, a position he held until 2015.

Mr Putin expressed his condolences to Mr Lesin’s family.

“The president has a high appreciation for Mikhail Lesin’s massive contribution to the creation of modern Russian mass media,” the Kremlin’s press service said in a statement.

Irish Times

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