Putin Former Ally Found Dead

(PresidentialHill.com)- Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former KGB mentor and one-time ally died this week from an unnamed “serious illness” at the age of 72.

Viktor Cherkesov, a former Putin ally who later became an outspoken critic of the Russian president, died Tuesday night in St. Petersburg, according to Alexander Khinstein, the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy.

In a Telegram post on Tuesday, Khinstein described Cherkesov as a “wonderful person and true statesman.”

His cause of death was not released. Russian state media simply reported that Cherkesov died following a “serious illness.”

Cherkesov was the former chief of the now-defunct FKSN (State Drug Control Service). He started his career as a KGB officer in St. Petersburg in the 1970s, prosecuting dissidents and investigating anti-Soviet activities. Eventually, he rose through the ranks to head up St. Petersburg’s FSB branch.

When Putin was appointed director of FSB in 1998, Cherkesov relocated to Moscow to serve as his second-in-command.

After Putin became president of Russia in 2000, Cherkesov was appointed to his Security Council and later made head of the newly-formed FKSN agency.

But in 2007, Cherkesov got on Putin’s bad side after he published an article in Kommersant that was harshly critical of rogue FSB members. Cherkesov’s criticism prompted Putin to lash out and threaten his former mentor for airing FSB’s dirty laundry in the press.

After their falling out, Putin swiftly demoted Cherkesov before ultimately firing him from government service.

In his later years, Cherkesov became a member of the State Duma (Russia’s Parliament) where he spoke out against reforming the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Natalya Chaplina, Cherkesov’s second wife, runs the news agency Rosbalt which, in 2021, was declared a foreign agent by the Russian government.

Victor Cherkesov is the latest in a string of former Putin allies who have died under mysterious or unexplained circumstances since the start of the war in Ukraine.