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Boris Berezovsky, an exiled oligarch and one of the main figures on the Russian political scene of Boris Yeltsin’s epoch, was found dead at his mansion in the town Ascot in the English county Berkshire last Saturday. Berezovsky was named as a grey figure of Russian politics. He died presumably of heart failure. The media recall about Berezovsky’s role in the history.
The man, who played the key roles in Russian politics in the nineties, was participating in the determination of the results of the presidential elections and the changeover of the governments, was considered as a consistent rival of Vladimir Putin from the early 2000s, the Kommersant daily reported. In his life Boris Berezovsky has made right several careers, each of them can be considered successful.
Several friends of Berezovsky, who were polled by the newspaper, were communicating with him in the last few weeks. Some of them, for instance, head of the Fund of Civil Freedoms Alexander Goldfarb said that the businessman was in a depressive state, some others, for instance, Berezovsky’s former partner in LogoVAZ Yuly Dubov believe that the mood of their friend was normal. Lawyer Alexander Dobrovinsky has put forward a version about a possible suicide of the businessman. Journalist Mikhail Leontyev is confident that “if he were going to commit a suicide, and he was dotted on himself and his person, at least he would have made a message to the whole world.”
The Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reported that it became clear that Berezovsky had been in a deep depression recently. He even underwent a treatment course from depression in Israel. There were sufficient reasons for this fact. First, he lost the lawsuit against Roman Abramovich over the deals of Sibneft and RUSAL in 2012 and his multimillion expenses related with the trial.
Right after the death of the oligarch Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has made a statement on the issue, the newspaper noted. “Some time ago, may be a couple of months ago, Berezovsky passed to Putin a letter, which he wrote personally, in which he acknowledged that he committed very many mistakes, asked Putin to apologize him for them and asked the president to be granted an opportunity to return to the homeland,” Peskov noted. On Sunday, Peskov did not clarify the situation with the letter, only noting that the letter was passed through unofficial channels and “a certain person” passed it to Putin. He added that Boris Berezovsky was a definite opponent to Vladimir Putin and not only in the politics, “Probably, in some other dimensions...” “This letter was addressed to Putin personally. I do not know whether he would like to make public the full text of this letter,” Peskov said.
Meanwhile, the essence of this letter differs strongly from a message that Vladimir Putin, who occupied the post of the prime minister at the time, received from Berezovsky at the beginning of the previous year. “Already today you cannot trust any person: not only those who came out on the square, but also to your friends, which you made very rich,” Berezovsky wrote then. He was talking Putin into withdrawing his candidacy from the presidential race and convening a certain committee of national salvation. “Volodya, you are between the devil and the deep sea,” Berezovsky addressed to Putin in the capacity of a presidential candidate then. “Some people are protesting. Some others are saving their necks. And you bear responsibility for everything,” he wrote.
The president has “no attitude” to the criticism, which Boris Berezovsky levied on him, Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with the television channel Dozhd on Sunday. “This is the criticism of a powerless enemy,” he said. Peskov named this criticism as “absolutely bitter, uncompromising, not targeted at any result, but at an indirect declaration of war.” Where is the confession, if the war was declared? “I am not a legal personal representative for Berezovsky...” Peskov replied.
The death of the main anti-hero in Russia turned out be very symbolic, the RBC daily reported. He had not any friends after all, a major capital, most Russian citizens, without looking in the details link his name with any activities against the Russian state authorities.
When the television channel Rossiya will describe Berezovsky’s image on Monday, he will be represented as a cunning and tough-minded person or a master of puppets or a foreteller, who could predict, how and what will happen. Those, who got accustomed to a strong state in the profiteering 2000s and who always have the right for the final say, can hardly admit that high activities and smartness could bring no less profit that a high post or influential relatives just 20 years ago. And just a lucky case played its role.
The Moskovsky Komsomolets daily recalled that Berezovsky was a conceited schemer. He could establish relations with dozens and hundreds of important people and could turn them in his puppets. Berezovsky could plot sophisticated political and business schemes and then could translate them into life consistently. Berezovsky was absolutely merciless. People were the puppets for him. If it was needed, he removed them from the chessboard without any hesitation. Berezovsky played with the spirit of the times better than others. He was the first to understand the rules of life in a new reality and managed to become a cruel king of this reality. Berezovsky was an absolutely cynical person. But he combined this cynicism with an amazing naivety and a persistent sincere belief in his own truth.
Berezovsky was a player and an intriguer, who was satisfied with the games of influence, with the schemes, the roles, which he played and which were attributed to him, the Vedomosti daily noted. Shortly before his death Berezovsky became a literary character. Vague lines between the truth and mystification seemed to please him. He became a prototype of a hero of a book and a film, he is compared with Faust or Frankenstein, but finally he turned in an unlucky King Lear. It turned out that the player did not work out his own endgame fully.
A year before his death, on the Shrove Sunday, he made public in Facebook his confession, which concerned those peculiarities of his heritage that will outlive him. In fact, he confessed that he became one of the architects of informal illegal rules of the game in the post-Soviet politics and business. As most Russian first oligarchs, Berezovsky was seeking to replace the creation of the rules of the game common for everybody, the protection of the human rights and property with special relations with the top state officials and their close associates.
He considered politics as business, in which any result and any player can be bought. The level of Berezovsky’s influence on the decisions in the Russian personnel policy and other issues is overestimated, the newspaper believes.