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Russian oligarch to fund coup

LONDON, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Fugitive tycoon Boris Abramovich Berezovsky has openly proclaimed his intention to overthrow Vladimir Putin.

Following the collapse of communism in 1991 Berezovsky became Russia's first billionaire and most prominent oligarch, but fled Russia in 2000 for exile in London.

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During in interview with Russia's Ekho Moskvy radio station Berezovsky said that he wanted to replace Putin's "anti-constitutional regime" and had been working on his coup plot since July 2004.

Berezovsky said, "The regime has lost its legitimacy. Neither Putin nor the parliamentary Duma is legitimate. They are anti-constitutional, because they have made a number of anti-constitutional decisions, such as replacing elected governors by appointed ones. This is absolutely against the spirit and the language of the constitution."

Berezovsky asserted that as Putin's regime would never allow a fair election, "there is only one way out -- a coup, a forced seizure of power."

While declining to provide specifics, Berezovsky said that he had plenty of support and would fund the coup himself from his estimated $3 billion fortune.

Berezovsky insisted that he was motivated by patriotism, saying, "The regime is doomed, and I want to see it collapse before Russia collapses."

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