On September 2016, Vladimir Putin’s driver was killed in a freak car accident while driving the Russian President’s official black BMW.

Mikhail Lesin, the founder of Russia’s official RT news service and a friend of Vladimir Putin, was found dead in a Washington hotel room in November 2015. Russian media reports contend that he had suffered a "heart attack," but a medical examiner said that death was caused by "blunt force injuries."

On November 8, Russian diplomat Sergei Krivov was found unconscious at the Russian Consulate in New York. There were reports that Krivov fell from the roof and exhibited signs of blunt force injuries, but Russian officials said he died from a heart attack. He died at the scene. There are reports that he may have been in charge of counter-intelligence at the consulate.

On December 26, a former chief of Russia’s intelligence service, Oleg Erovinkin, was found dead in the back of his car. Media reports suggest that he had helped produce a draft of a dossier that was intended to embarrass President Donald Trump. Erovinkin was also an aide to former deputy prime minister Igor Sechin, who is now the head of Russia’s government-owned Rosneft business.
 
On January 9, Russian consul Andrei Malanin was found dead in Athens. According to Greek police, there was no evidence of a break-in at his apartment, which was on a heavily guarded street. Malanin served while the bilateral relations of Greece and Russia were improving, but criticized by the EU and NATO.
 
Alexander Kadakin, Russia’s ambassador to India, succumbed to a brief illness on January 27.
 
Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, died in New York City on February 20, the day before his birthday, after being rushed to a hospital from his office. While initial reports labeled the cause of death as heart attack, a medical examiner continues to investigate the case.
 
On December 19, 2016, two Russian diplomats had untimely ends. Ambassador Andrei Karlov, who represented Russia to Turkey, was shot to death by a police officer in Ankara. On the same day, Russian diplomat Petr Polshikov was shot to death in his apartment in Moscow. The circumstances of the latter's demise are being investigated. Polshikov held a senior rank in the department of Russia’s Foreign Ministry that dealt with Latin America.


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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