Vladimir Putins top election fixer dies suddenly despite being in good health

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    A Kremlin ‘fixer’ believed to be behind Vladimir Putin’s political success has died of a sudden massive heart attack – despite having reportedly been in perfect health just days earlier.

    Vladimir Churov had been chairman of the Russian Central Election Commission. The 70-year-old was repeatedly accused of having arranged “election fraud” that secured Putin’s repeated victories in both presidential and prime-ministerial elections.

    The news of his death was broken by Russian news agency TASS, quoting a report from former Russian Electoral Commission official Leonid Ivlev.

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    Ivlev said: "It is sad news indeed. [He died] after surgery in a hospital at 8:00 am today". He added that the influential political figure had "passed away after suffering a serious heart attack."

    Known as “Putin’s magician,” Churov began his political career in the 1990s, working for Vladimir Putin as deputy head of St. Petersburg mayor's external relations committee.

    Despite repeated accusations of electoral fraud, Churov was dismissive of his critics.

    He once notoriously claimed that video footage of ballot boxes being tampered with had been filmed by Putin’s opponents in specially built replica polling booths to discredit the vote.

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    From 2007-2016, reports the Moscow Times, Churov served as chairman of Russia’s Central Election Commission, which administrates of elections in the country.

    But his decade in the job was marked by cynical fraud which saw Putin scoring landslide victories in presidential elections, then standing for one term as prime minister in a cynical bid to get around Russia’s electoral laws.

    The Putin years have seen a steady decline in Russian democracy, most political experts agree, and a return to the tyranny of the Soviet era.

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    Fiercely loyal to his boss, the white-bearded political manipulator would always say “Churov's first law" was that "Putin is always right."

    Ironically, in his last years he had been working on a book about US election fixing.

    While TASS recorded his cause of death as a heart attack, other Russian news sources have described him as having suffered a massive stroke. Churov’s death came less than a week after his 70th birthday on March 17.


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