Mikhail Lessin is a Jewish oligarch born in Moscow on July 11, 1958. Until 1996, he worked for the RIA Novosti information agency and for television company TV-Novosti as head of the commercial section, deputy general director and general director. In 1996, Lessin was appointed head of the Public Relations Department of the Presidential Executive Office and from 1997-1999 served as first deputy chairman of the All-Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (RTR). In July 1999, he was appointed Media Minister and in this position he had gathered almost all state media under the same roof. Lessin was also a key figure in the campaign headquarters of the pro-Kremlin bloc “Unity” during the 1999 parliamentary elections and the 2000 presidential election as Putin became Yeltsin’s successor. Also in 1999, Lessin was appointed Minister of the Russian Federation for Press, Broadcasting and Mass Communications in the government of Sergei Stepashin. Lessin retained this post until March 2004. In April 2004, he was made Adviser to the President having worked in the government of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Mikhail Kasyanov. Lessin spoke about his Jewish mother during an interview in 2000 on the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. “I, too…a Jew because my mother was Jewish, and I am very closely following the developments that are taking place around the Jewish question”.