Putin’s “magician” Vladimir Churov is dead

He was one of the most important men around Russia's president. Now Vladimir Churov died unexpectedly.

Vladimir Putin’s “magician”, Vladimir Churov, died on Wednesday at the age of 70 of a severe heart attack. This was reported by the Russian state news agency Tass. Churov was the chairman of the Central Electoral Commission from 2007 to 2016 and is said to have helped Putin win several times.

“It is indeed sad news,” State Duma deputy Leonid Ivlev told the agency. “[He died] after an operation in a hospital at 8 a.m. this morning.” The former Russian election chief recently planned to write a book about US interference in foreign elections.

From the mid-2000s, Putin’s “magicians” made a name for themselves far beyond Russia’s borders. Over the years, he has been accused of massive election fraud, against which tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets and unsuccessfully called for Churov’s resignation. The election officer rose to become an object of hatred and satire across the country.

At demonstrations, posters by his critics showed him disguised as a magician – an allusion to a quote from Putin ally Dmitry Medvedev, who was President of Russia from 2008 to 2012. “You are almost like a magician,” Die Welt quoted a statement made by Medvedev to Churov in 2012 when Putin replaced him. Churov had previously made a surprisingly accurate forecast of the election results.

At that time, the former election officer only admitted that there had been a few small violations of the applicable electoral law that could not have significantly influenced the result. “Such honest and open elections do not exist in other countries,” he was quoted as saying by the “Welt” at the time. In the same year, Churov was awarded the Alexander Nevsky Order for his services.


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