(RoyalPatriot.com )- Russian President Vladimir Putin’s former KGB mentor and one-time ally died last week from an unnamed “serious illness” at the age of 72.
Viktor Cherkesov, a former Putin ally who later became an outspoken critic, died last Tuesday in St. Petersburg, according to Alexander Khinstein, the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy.
In a Telegram post on Tuesday night, 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 began his career in the 1970s as a KGB officer in St. Petersburg, where he prosecuted dissidents and investigated anti-Soviet activities. Eventually, Cherkesov rose through the ranks to head up St. Petersburg’s FSB branch.
In 1998 after Vladimir Putin was appointed director of FSB, Cherkesov relocated to Moscow to serve as his second-in-command.
When 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, Putin turned on his former mentor after Cherkesov published an article in Kommersant that was harshly critical of rogue FSB members, prompting 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 either under mysterious circumstances or unnamed “illnesses” since the start of the war in Ukraine.