Vladimir Putin's close ally dies suddenly five days after giving rare interview

A close ally of Vladimir Putin gave a rare interview only five days before he died suddenly.

Vladimir Putin's close ally dies suddenly five days after giving rare interview
© Sasha Mordovets / Getty Images
Vladimir Putin's close ally dies suddenly five days after giving rare interview

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former elections chief, Vladimir Churov, has died suddenly at the age of 70, as state media reported on Wednesday 22 March.

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Who was Vladimir Churov?

Churov was a close ally of Putin and led the Russian Central Election Commission from 2007 to 2016. He famously declared that 'Churov's first law' was that 'Putin is always right'.

In 2011, he became known as 'the magician' for overseeing massive vote rigging in national parliamentary elections. He is also known as Putin’s 'election fixer'.

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.

Former President Dmitry Medvedev said to Churov when the elections official told him that Putin's ruling United Russia party had won:

You're practically a magician. That's what some party leaders are calling you.

In 2011, he was widely mocked after declaring on state TV that the southern Rostov region had a 146.47% turnout while broadcasting preliminary results of the elections.

The accusations of electoral fraud sparked nationwide pro-democracy protests, forcing Putin to remove him as head of the Electoral Commission in 2016.

At the time of his death, Churov had the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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A surprising death

Churov's death was reported by numerous Russian state-run media outlets including the news agency TASS. Lawmaker Leonid Ivlev told TASS:

It’s sad news indeed. [He died] after surgery in a hospital at 8:00 a.m. today. Vladimir Yevgenyevich passed away after suffering a serious heart attack.

Ivlev, who was deputy chairman of the Election Commission from 2008 to 2016, claimed Churov felt good on Monday and Tuesday and he was going to write a book about the US allegedly 'meddling' in overseas elections. He said:

He suffered a massive heart attack a week ago, had a heart operation, then came to his senses, began to get up, walk around the ward, talked about his plans, was going to write a book, but that's how it all happened.

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Interviewed five days before death

Only five days before his death, Churov gave a rare interview to Russian media outlet Komsomolskaya Pravda. In regards to his famous 146% claim, Churov said:

It is now clear that the 146% was a provocation, one of the first fake programs. We did not immediately appreciate the scale of this operation... Huge amounts of money were invested in promoting this 146% fake.

He denied Russia interfered in US elections, saying:

We have neither the desire nor the resources to do so. It has long been established that U.S. elections are among the worst in terms of organization in the world. And the best elections are in countries such as India, in many countries of Latin America, including Brazil. Very well organized elections in South Korea, in Russia.

Rather, Churov claimed that the US 'supervise' Ukrainian elections. He said:

Another thing is that they have never concealed that their elections are supervised by the Americans. A colleague of mine from the Ukrainian Electoral Commission confessed to me that he had asked the US Ambassador to make some proposals to the Ukrainian President!

He finished the interview by revealing he intended to retire soon. Churov concluded rather ominously:

After March 17, everything will be seen.

Sources used:

Newsweek: 'Putin's Former Elections Chief Dies After 'Massive Heart Attack''

The Moscow Times: 'Russia's Former Election Chief Vladimir Churov Dies Aged 70'

TASS: 'Russia’s former election chief Churov dies of heart attack'

The Sun: 'RIGGER MORTIS Vlad’s election fixer who coined motto ‘Putin’s always right’ dies suddenly from heart attack days after ‘seeming well’'

Komsomolskaya Pravda: 'Влияла ли Россия на выборы в США и откуда на самом деле взялись 146%: как живет российский «Волшебник на пенсии»'

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