Ex-head of Russia’s drug control service, Putin’s longtime friend Viktor Cherkesov dies

Viktor Cherkesov, former head of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service, has died aged 72, member of Russian parliament Alexander Khinshtein announced via his Telegram channel.

Cherkesov and Putin. Photo: the Russian president's website

Cherkesov and Putin. Photo: the Russian president's website

A series of highly-publicised arrests rocked the drug control service under Cherkesov. Several people working in the service — General Alexander Bulbov, his secretary Maria Kovaleva, and former deputy head of the service’s security unit Yuri Gevala — as well as employees of other security agencies were suspected of wiretapping phones of six businessmen and a TV presenter.

Cherkesov at the time slammed this as an “internal feud”.

At different times, Cherkesov also served as the president’s envoy to the Northwestern Federal District, head of the agency for procurement of military and special equipment, and a member of the lower house of parliament representing the Communist Party of Russia. He was also described as a longtime friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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