London exile Berezovsky says force necessary to bring down President Putin
The Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky has told the Guardian he is plotting the violent overthrow of President Putin from his base in Britain after forging close contacts with members of Russia's ruling elite.
In comments which appear calculated to enrage the Kremlin, and which will further inflame relations between London and Moscow, the multimillionaire claimed he was already bankrolling people close to the president who are conspiring to mount a palace coup.
"We need to use force to change this regime," he said. "It isn't possible to change this regime through democratic means. There can be no change without force, pressure." Asked if he was effectively fomenting a revolution, he said: "You are absolutely correct."
Although Mr Berezovsky, with an estimated fortune of £850m, may have the means to finance such a plot, and although he enjoyed enormous political influence in Russia before being forced into exile, he said he could not provide details to back up his claims because the information was too sensitive.
Last night the Kremlin denounced Mr Berezovsky's comments as a criminal offence which it believed should undermine his refugee status in the UK.Although he played a key role in ensuring Mr Putin's victory in the 2000 presidential elections, the two men fell out as the newly elected leader successfully wrested control of Russia back from the so-called oligarchy, the small group of tycoons who had come to dominate the country's economy.http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/article/0,,2056321,00.html