Was Mikhail Lesin Killed by the FBI?

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By Petri Krohn for Fort Russ

12th March, 2016

The Russian “media mogul”, co-founder of RT, former minister, and a Putin ally Mikhail Lesin was found dead in his room at the Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington, D.C. on the morning of November 5th last year. Emergency medical staff was alerted to the scene, but the D.C. Fire and EMS found no signs consistent with life. It was initially reported by “family members”, most likely Lesin’s son and daughter living in Los Angeles, that Lesin had died of a heart attack. The death caused wide scale speculation, both in Russia and the West, that the death had been murder. 

The Russian foreign ministry says the US has not given it any substantive information on the death, even though they have repeatedly requested information through diplomatic channels. Yesterday it was confirmed by the medical examiner that Lesin had died of “blunt force injuries of the head,” as well as “blunt force injuries of the neck, torso, upper extremities, lower extremities.”

There is reason to suspect Mikhail Lesin may have died while being interrogated by the FBI.

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Image source: Ex-aide to Putin died of blunt force trauma at D.C. hotel, medical examiner says

1) Lesin did not kill himself in his hotel room. 

Far stranger deaths have been deemed suicides: Berezovsky hanged himself in his bathroom. A MI6 codebreaker stuffed himself in a “holdall” bag, locked the bag with a padlock from the outside and dumped the bag and himself in a bathtub of a safe house. A Tory MP was found dead tied to a chair, wearing only items of women’s lingerie, with a plastic bag over his head and a orange stuffed into his mouth. People have killed themselves alone in all kinds of mysterious ways, but this is not one of those cases. The injuries suffered by Lesin would be impossible to cause to oneself. Nowhere in the reporting is there a mention of self-inflicted injuries.

The New York Times hints that that Lesin may have suffered the trauma before returning to his hotel room as a result of some “altercation”. Even if that is the case, it would still be murder.

2) Lesin was not murdered.

There is no murder investigation. There is no search for the “blunt object” used in the attack. There is no search for the mysterious assailants who had attacked Lesin in his hotel room. No review of the CCTV tapes. It seems the investigators are fully aware who had been in his hotel room.

3) Authorities are covering up the facts.

The result of the autopsy was kept secret for over four months. The Russian foreign ministry says the US has not given it any substantive information, even though they have asked several times via diplomatic channels. Family member are saying that Lesin died of a “heart stroke.” It is likely that this is what they were told by US authorities. Dying of a “heart stroke” is in fact typical for people under torture, even if they had suffered other trauma. Only an autopsy can determine if the victim died of a heart attack or the blunt trauma to the head. 

It is also worth noting that there is an active disinformation campaign to accuse Vladimir Putin and Russia for Lesin’s “murder”. 

The Dupont Circle Hotel is located 1.7 miles from the FBI headquarters at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in central Washington, D.C.

4) Lesin was likely a target of a FBI investigation.

The Daily Beast speculates that the FBI and US intelligence were pressuring Lesin into “cooperation” to gain political leverage over Putin and Russia, using extrajudicial seizure of his US properties as a threat. Quote: “But having Lesin as an informant would been a big contribution to U.S. law enforcement and intelligence. And the information that Wicker and his staff, as well as human-rights groups and journalists, dug up on Lesin may have pushed him closer to the FBI’s arms—and ultimately into the path of a killer.”

Putting the pieces together, it is reasonable to assume the FBI or other U.S. intelligence operatives were present in the hotel room when Mikhail Lesin suffered the deadly trauma.

The events could have followed a similar path as when FBI agents interviewed Ibragim Todashev at his home in Orlando, Florida in 2013. Todashev was said to be a friend of Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The FBI says “a violent confrontation was initiated by the individual.” The New York Times provides further details: “They got him to confess to the homicides, and they say, ‘Let’s write it down,’ and he starts writing it down. He goes to get a cigarette or something and then he goes off the deep end,” the second official said. “I don’t know what triggered him, and he goes after the agent.”

The U.S. investigation now exist to determine whether the trauma resulted from unauthorized use of force by U.S. law enforcement or whether they are a result of self-defense after Lesin attacked the agents. 

The likely verdict? The official story may well say that Mikhail Lesin was voluntarily interviewed by four FBI agents about the Litvinenko murder, when he suddenly went mad and attacked the agents with his head, neck, torso, and upper and lower extremities.

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