Misha Lesin: In Memoriam


WASHINGTON – Mikhail Lesin, a former aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin who helped found the English-language news service Russia Today, has been found dead in an upscale Washington hotel room. Lesin served as Russian press minister from 1999 to 2004 and presidential media adviser from 2004 to 2009, RT said. He then became a senior executive at Gazprom-Media, Russia’s largest media holding company. AP

Last time I talked to Mikhail “Misha” Lesin was in July 1991 before my “Aeroflot” flight from Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow to the JFK in NYC.

Ironically, it was the last time ever I flew by the “Aeroflot” and the last time ever I talked to Misha.

Misha was a friend from my Russian past.

We went to college together and then worked for the KVN comedy TV show in Moscow, Russia. After graduation, Misha worked for a couple of years in Mongolia. When he returned to Moscow, Lesin helped us immensely with the “Panopticum” stand-up comedy theater and with the KVN prime time TV show. Even at that time, all of us knew  that he had a special gift in him. A special talent.

He had this unmatched quantum of energy and skills in organizing businesses. It really didn’t matter whether it was to find a corporate client for an on-stage performance of 20 comedians or to produce the 1989 Ms. America Show in Moscow or to manage a million dollar worth advertising campaign on TV. It was amazing! Things were just getting done. Nothing could have stopped Misha Lesin on his way to accomplish them.

With all this said, he never interfered with creative producers, writers or directors of showbiz. It wasn’t his forte. And it was super clever of him not to deal with creative egos of show business.

He just did his things. Did the best he could. And the best anyone could. It was a pure magic of entrepreneurship.

Mikhail Lesin’s involvement with the Video International advertising agency and his contribution to creating and managing top national media companies in Russia took place after I moved to America. The scope of his media activities didn’t surprise me at all. I was a little taken off guard hearing about his involvement in Russian politics and being so close to Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s and Vladimir Putin in the last 15 years.

Oh well, I’ve been too long away from Russia. We definitely follow two completely opposite philosophies nowadays.

We live in different worlds. It would have been impossible not to change 25 years after our last conversation in the Sheremetyevo airport in July 1991.

Today, with Misha gone, I remember good old days… Crazy parties in college. Our first experiences on TV in Russia. Taking a cab to travel from St. Peterburg to Moscow. Visiting Misha, his wife Valya and little Anton in their small apartment in Kuzminki area in Moscow.

Misha Lesin  is no longer with us.

My thoughts are with his family and friends. My deepest condolences go to them on this sad day.




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16 Responses

  1. Serge says:

    Is it true the police could not find his ID?

  2. janeric123 says:

    Don’t reporters/media related workers and political opponents get killed in Russia all the time?

  3. TurtleDoo says:

    Media Mogul. lol…
    This is James Bond stuff he probably was done in by a beautiful KGB like vamp who seduced him then like a Black Widow poisoned him and slipped out in the midst of night.

  4. Gadfly says:

    So the head of Russia’s nationalist, anti-US propaganda machine preferred living and investing in California? LOL! What did he know that the Russian public is not allowed to find out?

  5. Ian says:

    At age 57, he had already reached the low end of the life expectancy of a Russian male of his generation.

  6. mistgale says:

    People who robbed Russia under Eltsin are generally thought to be angels, and those who do it now are very bad boys (and girls). Can anyone explain this?

  7. john says:

    Hotel deaths at inopportune times always look suspicious. Maybe all our corrupt leaders will assassinate each other and leave us alone.

  8. Philip says:

    He should have stayed home. Washington DC a dangerous place for someone in his position.

  9. Pete says:

    He had been here long enough to get obamacare and they couldn’t find his doctor.

  10. Think4Self says:

    Who needs to laundry money in real estate investments/assets when you can do it with your very own charitable foundation?

  11. Maria L says:

    Why isn’t this rich Russian living and putting his money into a Russian bank and living in Russia? Hard Question for all wealthy Russian’s getting out of ” Dodge” ( Russia ) .

  12. Moi says:

    The Kremlin’s propagandist is dead. Bummer.

  13. Anthony Clifton says:

    I hear that Mikhail Lesin, the founder of RT (Russia Today) was found dead in Washington DC

    Mikhail Lesin, a former aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin who helped found the English-language news service Russia Today, was found dead in an upscale Washington hotel room, police and Russian authorities said. He was 57.

    Funny, a lot of people connected to Vladimir Putin have been turning up dead recently? Well, even RT says that the cause of death was a heart attack and not a sinister CIA assassination plot as would normally be expected from RT

    anybody who is remotely familiar with RTs broadcasting knows that this so-called non state owned media outlet is nothing other than the foreign propaganda arm of the Russian government, no more, no less. It broadcasts 24/7 are dominated by Anti-US, Anti- NATO and Anti-EU Propaganda and disinformation that tows the Kremlin line to the letter. Yet while RT pushes it’s vitriol hate propaganda at the U.S. 24/7 The man who founded this network Mikhail Lesin brought property in Los Angeles CA worth $28 Million in Beverly Hills and Brentwood.

  14. Kremtroll killer says:

    Given the fact that Lesin was a former head of the Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation and Beginning in 2004 he became an adviser to the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and given the fact that he recently brought $28 Million in real estate in Los Angeles California. it’s easy to speculate that “Someone ” in Russia might have thought that Mikhail Lesin might of been planning to “Relocate” from Russia. Obviously a man like him would be in possession of a lot of important information about important people in Russia (If you know what I mean) and they might not have been too happy with his “Relocation” plans (If you know what I mean)

    A heart attack and he was only 57 years old. Seems quite young to kick the bucket like that doesn’t it? I”m sure if a man like him with his financial resources knew he had a heart condition, he would have had the best health care money could buy wouldn’t you think? I certainly would, even if there was a family history of heart disease but none of that seems to of mattered. Strange don’t you think?

  15. dsigned001 says:

    Anyone know why he was in DC?

  1. March 14, 2016

    […] wrote a Memoriam to Misha Lesin last November honestly reflecting my memories of him from the […]

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