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Former Putin Aide Found Dead In DC, Killed By Blunt Force Trauma

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former adviser who was found dead in a Washington, D.C. hotel last November, died of blunt force trauma to the head, according to autopsy results from the D.C. Medical Examiner’s Office Thursday.

Authorities in D.C. found the body of Mikhail Lesin, 59, on November 5 in a room at the Dupont Circle Hotel. Lesin’s family members initially told Russian media outlets he suffered from many health conditions and likely had a heart attack. But the new autopsy results are fueling speculations of foul play over the mysterious death. Authorities aren’t releasing further details because the investigation is ongoing, reports WUSA9.

The autopsy also revealed blunt force injuries to Lesin’s neck, torso, arms and legs, in addition to trauma to his head. Dustin Sternbeck, chief spokesman for the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), said Thursday authorities could not yet conclude whether his death was the result of a crime.

“We’re not willing to close off anything at this point,” said Sternbeck.

Lesin was a well-known political figure in Russia, formerly serving as press minister to Putin. He is also known for founding government-funded news outlet Russia Today and serving as a top executive in the Russian conglomerate Gazprom Media. Lesin’s reasons for visiting D.C. in the fall are still unknown, reports The Washington Post.

Officials from the Russian Embassy in D.C. voiced displeasure at being kept in the dark on the autopsy results and the progress of the investigation.

“The Russian Embassy in the United States has repeatedly sent a request through diplomatic channels about the investigation into the death of a Russian citizen,” said Maria Zakharova, spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry in a Facebook post Thursday. “The U.S. side has not provided us with any substantive information. We are waiting for clarification from Washington and the relevant official details on the progress of the investigation.”

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