The Washington DC medical examiner’s office has just confirmed that former Russian press minister Mikhail Lesin died of “blunt force trauma to the head.” Lesin, who founded the English-language television network Russia Today (RT) was found dead in a Washington DC hotel room in November 2015.
The Daily Beast reports that before his death, Lesin was considering making a deal with the FBI to protect himself from corruption charges. For years, Lesin had been at the heart of political life in Russia and would have known a lot about the inner workings of the rich and powerful.
Lesin isn’t the only person linked to Putin’s government that has died in violent or mysterious circumstances. Here are some of the other people Putin is suspected of assassinating:
Alexander Litvinenko was a former KGB agent who died three weeks after drinking a cup of tea at a London hotel that had been laced with deadly polonium-210. A British inquiry found that Litvinenko was poisoned by FSB agents Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun who were acting on orders that had “probably approved by Mr Patrushev and also by President Putin.”
Anna Politkovskaya was a Russian journalist who was critical of Putin. In her book “Putin’s Russia,” she accused Putin of turning his country into a police state. She was murdered by contract killers who shot her at point blank range in the lift outside her flat.&
Five men were convicted of her murder, but the judge found that it was a contract killing, with $150,000 paid by “a person unknown.”
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
A picture of slain journalist Anna Politkovskaya is shown during a candlelight vigil in front of the Russian Embassy.
Natalia Estemirova was a journalist who sometimes worked with Politkovskaya. She specialised in uncovering human rights abuses carried out by the Russian state in Chechnia.
She was abducted from outside her home and later found in nearby woodland with gunshot wounds to her head. No one has been convicted of her murder.
Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova
Human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov represented Politkovskaya and other journalists who had been critical of Putin. He was shot by a masked gunman near the Kremlin. Journalist Anastasia Baburova who was walking with him was also shot when she tried to help him.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Boris Nemtsov speaks at a news conference on ‘Corruption and Abuse in Sochi Olympics’
Boris Nemtsov was a former Deputy Prime Minister of Russia under Boris Yeltsin who went on to become a big critic of Putin — accusing him of being in the pay of Oligarchs.
He was shot four times in the back just yards from the Kremlin as he walked home from a restaurant. Despite Putin taking “personal control” of the investigation into Nemtsov’s murder, the killer has not been found.Boris Berezovsky
Boris Berezovsky was a Russian oligarch who fled to Britain after he fell out with Putin. during his exile he threatened to bring down Putin by force. He was found dead at his Berkshire home in March 2013 in an apparent suicide, although an inquest into his death recorded an open verdict.
The British police had on several occasions investigated alleged assassination attempts against him.
Graeme Robertson/Getty Images
Boris Berezovsky wears a mask, showing the face of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, as he leaves Bow Street Magistrates Court
Paul Klebnikov was the chief editor of the Russian edition of Forbes. He had written about corruption and dug into the lives of wealthy Russians.
He was killed in a drive-by shooting in an apparent contract killing.
Sergei Yushenkov was a Russian politician who was attempting to prove the Russian state was behind the bombing of an apartment block. He was killed in an assassination by a single shot to the chest just hours after his political organisation Liberal Russia had been recognised by the Justice Ministry as a party.
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