Moscow court hears defamation case vs Putin

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 14, 2011 10:09

MOSCOW — A Moscow court is hearing a civil defamation suit against Vladimir Putin after the Russian prime minister used a TV call-in show to accuse his political enemies of stealing from the state.

Putin claimed in December that a group of opponents once in the government or parliament took billions from state coffers in the 1990s.

He said former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov, once-deputy energy minister Vladimir Milov and ex-independent lawmaker Vladimir Ryzhkov had gone broke and were now seeking power again to fill their pockets.

Before Monday's court hearing, Nemtsov told the AP he doesn't expect to win but said the fact the suit was admitted is a victory. Russia's courts are notoriously loyal to the state and often used to bury Kremlin opponents.


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