The man in charge of Vladimir Putin’s allegedly ‘rigged’ elections for nine years has suddenly died after surgery.
Vladimir Churov, 70, was previously the chairperson of the Russian Central Election Commission.
The opposition accused him of ‘election fraud’ favouring Putin during his term between 2007 and 2016.
He was then personally appointed a Russian ambassador at large by the president.
Lawmaker Leonid Ivlev told news agency TASS: ‘It is sad news indeed.
‘[He died] after surgery in a hospital at 8am today.
‘[He] passed away after suffering a serious heart attack.’
He added Mr Churov had appeared ‘in good health’ up until today and had been discussing his future plans.
Mr Churov was seen as ‘doing bidding for the Kremlin’ to rig elections while also making them appear creditable.
A former Western diplomat in Moscow said: ‘Churov knew where the bodies were buried over election falsification which gave Putin a clear run, preventing opposition parties gaining a foothold.’
At the time of his death he was in the process of writing a book on alleged US meddling in elections abroad.
The eyes of the world have been on Russia this week after a pomp-filled state visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping.
He told Putin ‘change is coming’ as he left the Kremlin after the two leaders showcased their ‘no-limits friendship’ in front of the media.
Shaking hands as the Chinese president left the imperial palace, Xi said via an interpreter: ‘Change is coming that hasn’t happened in 100 years. And we are driving this change together.’
Putin replied: ‘I agree,’ before his counterpart bid him farewell, saying: ‘Please, take care, dear friend.’
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