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St PETERSBURG, December 2 (Itar-Tass) — Russia's Olympic champion in figure skating, Yevgeny Plushchenko, told a news conference here Friday he is quitting the ranks of the Just Russia party, which is led by the former speaker of the upper house of Russian parliament, Sergei Mironov.
He said he is taking the move, as he plans to return to the elite sport.
Plushchenko thanked Mironov and another party leader, Oleg Nilov, for joint work but said his decision to part with Just Russia was motivated to some degree by contradictions with the leader of the regional party branch, MP Oksana Dmitriyeva.
"I came to the party together with Mironov and Nilov but Oksana Dmitriyeva and I have chosen different pathways," he said.
Plushchenko also said he does not plan joining any other party and will start training for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
"I'll return to sport because it's impossible to get ready for competitions if you engage in politics," he said. "I've taken a principled decision to round up my political activity and to take up sports again."
He said he had a training session earlier in the day, in the course of which he had not made a single mistake.
"I'm in top form," said Plushchenko, who turned 29 years old last month.
He joined the Just Russia party at the end of 2006 and was elected a deputy of the St Petersburg Legislative Assembly on its party ticket in March 2007.
His fellow-legislators have been saying, however, that he attended the sessions of the city legislature seldom enough and did not perform his duties in practical terms. They notified Sergei Mironov of this on a number of occasions.