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26 Aug, 2007 08:56

Berezovsky back to his old ways

The exiled Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky is calling for the Russian government to be overthrown. In an article in the British newspaper the Sunday Times, Berezovsky doesn’t rule out 'rebellion as the final means' of exerting influence on Moscow.

In the Sunday Times article, Berezovsky dubs the current Russian government as “authoritarian” and calls on the West to exert pressure on Moscow.

Most of the methods described by the London-based businessman are economic. But he also says he doesn’t exclude “rebellion as the final means”.

The idea of a violent seizure of power in Russia is not new to the tycoon enjoying the status of a political refugee in Britain. In March 2006, he claimed he was preparing a coup in Russia. Though many saw the claim as attention-seeking, both Russia and Britain took the case seriously. Russia has launched a criminal case, accusing Berezovsky of inciting a coup and called on Britain to hand him over.

Although the tycoon wasn’t extradited, the-then British foreign secretary Jack Straw warned he might be stripped of his refugee status.

“Advocating the violent overthrow of a sovereign state is unacceptable and we condemn these comments unreservedly. Those granted asylum in the United Kingdom have duties to the UK which require, in particular, that they conform to its laws and regulations. They are advised that their refugee status can be reviewed at any time where it is considered their presence is not conducive to the public good,” Jack Straw stressed.

But in April this year Berezovsky decided to test the British tolerance once again and repeated his claims.

Russia reacted by filing another coup attempt suit, and again asked Britain to extradite Berezovsky.

However, the Crown Prosecution Service didn’t see it as an incitement to terrorism.

Together with the coup attempt accusations, 11 criminal cases in all have been launched against Boris Berezovsky in Russia, including large-scale fraud and money laundering.

He is also wanted in Brazil on money laundering charges.

It has been noted that most of the revelations by Berezovsky come on the eve of significant events in Russia – be it a major opposition rally, or elections, or important talks.

And though warned many times, it seems Berezovsky can't resist his impulses to provoke Russia's government.