Putin Bodyguard Promoted To Minister, Replaces Official Killed In Suspicious Waterfall Accident

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced the appointment of a former bodyguard as his new “emergency situations” minister on Wednesday, over a year after the last minister in the position died under mysterious circumstances.

Major-General Alexander Kurenkov, the 49-year-old former bodyguard of Putin, was announced by the state-run news agency TASS to have been appointed by Putin to run the Emergency Situations and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters Ministry, which handles the man-made and natural disaster response of the country, according to the New York Post.

Kurenkov, who is also known by the nickname “the Man Without a Face,” is the sixth bodyguard to be elevated to a high Kremlin position by Putin. He also reportedly served under Russian Intelligence like Putin, the Daily Beast reported.

The role of the Emergency Situations minister is seen by many as an important and influential position in the Russian government, with the last minister under the position, Yevgeny Zinichev, supposedly being primed by Putin as a potential successor.

Zinichev, however, was unable to reach that potential; he died in September 2021 after he fell 90 feet to his death from a waterfall while attempting to save the life of filmmaker Aleksandr Melnik. 

Many have speculated that Zinichev’s death was actually a murder, but the rumors continue to be unconfirmed by authorities.

Putin was visibly distraught during Zinichev’s funeral, reportedly being seen as emotional and teary-eyed while paying respect to the deceased minister. He also comforted Zinichev’s widow while the funeral service was ongoing, according to another Daily Beast article.

Russia’s ranks of high-level officials continue to be shaken up due to the war in Ukraine, with a United Nations diplomat for the country resigning from his position as a protest against Putin’s conflict in the country Ukraine, al-Jazeera reported.

“The aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine, and in fact against the entire Western world, is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia,” Boris Bondarev, the Russian diplomat, said in a statement to the press.

“Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not about diplomacy. It is all about warmongering, lies and hatred,” he said.