Putin’s top aide found dead in US hotel

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WASHINGTON: Prominent supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, credited with inspiring the creation of the state-owned Russia Today news channel, has been found dead in a US hotel room.
Mikhail Lesin, 57, was found in the Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington on Thursday.
The Russian embassy in Washington confirmed Lesin’s death, with Russia Today reporting he had succumbed to a heart attack.
Washington’s Metropolitan officers were called to the hotel at around 11.30am on Thursday.
Leslin was a close advisor of Putin and as Russia’s press minister from 1999 to 2004, then Putin’s presidential press advisor from 2004 to 2009, was influential in shaping the Russian leader’s image.
Described “inspiring the creation” of the news agency Russian Today, commonly known as RT, BBC Russian commented Lesin had been considered “one of the most influential figures in the Russian media market and in the corridors of power”. It is not known what he was doing in Washington at the time of his death.
Leslin leaves behind a wife, two children and five grandchildren.
The Russian embassy in London did not respond to The Independent’s requests for comment.

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