This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Skulduggery in Washington

"Nothing is clear except for the fact that the cause of his death was not natural. Well, this is at least something, but still nothing is clear."
Dmitry Spiridonov, editor, Kommersant

"The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner [OCME] has released the cause and manner of death for Mikhail Lesin, 59, of Russia."
"Cause of Death: blunt force injuries of the head. Other contributing causes: blunt force injuries of the neck, torso, upper extremities and lower extremities. Manner of death: undetermined."
District of Columbia Office of Medical Examiner and Metropolitan Police Department
Key aide: Mikhail Lesin (right, with Putin), who was Putin's press secretary during his first stint as president, founded state television network Russia Today, regarded in the West as a mouthpiece for the Kremlin

As a member in presumably good standing of President Vladimir V. Putin's inner circle, there is more than a whiff of sinister mystery in the death of this man in an unpretentious Washington hotel. The description of the wounds found on his battered body through the post-mortem is consistent with a pretty thorough physical beating, an attack fierce enough to drive the life out of anyone, as it clearly did to Mikhail Lesin.

Why he was in Washington to begin with represents a strand of the mystery, and why he would have chosen to stay at an inexpensive hotel when he has ample riches to buy himself extravagant comfort may have more to do with a wish on this occasion to be unnoticed than anything to do with budgetary restraints. Who he might have met there, and who it might have been who either came to his hotel room at a specific invitation or arrived unbidden is the sturdiest strand that for now eludes identification.
But Moscow is suspicious; one of the inner circle's trusted few has met a violent death in the capital of a powerful nation with which the Kremlin has had testy disagreements of late. What kind of skulduggery could the current U.S. administration, and its covert investigative arms have been up to? This admittedly is unusual; generally speaking it is the Russians who arrange to infiltrate the security of other countries to dispatch those whose revelations prove to be too inconvenient to overlook.
Which leads some within Russia itself, those vulnerable to their government's heavy-handed disbursement of penalties for confronting government with its human rights codes infractions, to question whether it might be feasible that there were fears that this man, so familiar with Kremlin details might have been in the process of offering tidbits of his private, inner and intriguing knowledge to adversaries of Russian rule.

"This man had a very interesting life, and it sounds like a very interesting death, too", dryly commented Ilya Krasilshik, a reporter for Meduza, a Russian media presence evidently well known for its criticism of Vladimir Putin's Kremlin. As a long-time confidante to Mr. Putin, Mr. Lesin's unfortunate death raises many questions. How deeply he is mourned by sources within the government's inner circle is one.

As a public relations expert and a tool of government, who ushered into existence the English-language television network Russia Today, known for its tender expressions of support of government views, questions about his indispensable value based on past performance clash with the possibility that his value was outlived and so was his life, given the short life-shrift meted out to journalists in Russia.

His parting from his final position as head of Gazprom-Media, owner of prominent Kremlin-supportive television networks and Izvestiya newspaper was anything but amicable. His disagreement with a radio editor of some repute over firing a journalist who had criticized the Kremlin must have resulted in a tug of war between Titans of the Russian news industry, and it seems that Mr. Lesin inexplicably lost.

On his way to losing, however, in the years in which he had invested his talents on behalf of touting the patriotic exercise of government priorities in the greater interests of Russia, he had acquired quite a considerable fortune. His investments in pricey mansions in the United States leaves the question: why the United States? Russia has its share of extravagant mansions, just ask President Putin.

Ruleaks/Wikimedia Commons

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