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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Skuratov Resigns Again in Battle With Yeltsin




Russia's top prosecutor, locked in a bitter feud with President Boris Yeltsin, submitted a letter of resignation Tuesday for the second time in two months, officials said.


But Prosecutor General Yury Skuratov's latest move was not expected to bring an end to his conflict with Yeltsin. Instead, it appeared more likely to produce another showdown.


Skuratov said he would be willing to continue working f and investigating possible corruption inside the Kremlin f if parliament supports him. He fired another shot in the Kremlin's direction Tuesday by ordering the arrest of controversial tycoon Boris Berezovsky, reputed to be a Kremlin favorite with ties to Yeltsin's family.


Skuratov has been looking into possible bribe-taking by government officials, and an angry Yeltsin, trying to find means to oust Skuratov, has in the interim suspended him.


But the result has been a standoff. Yeltsin cannot fire the prosecutor f only parliament's upper house, the Federation Council, can do that f and so far the lawmakers have sided with Skuratov. And could do so again.


Skuratov seemed set to disappear from the political scene when he resigned for the first time in February. But the Federation Council rejected his resignation by a vote of 142 to 6, in a stinging rebuke to Yeltsin.


Shortly afterwards, state television stations aired a video depicting a man strongly resembling Skuratov having sex with two women identified as prostitutes.


Yeltsin used the sex tape as a pretext to suspend Skuratov last week and said a criminal case against the prosecutor had been launched. Authorities are investigating whether criminal suspects provided Skuratov with prostitutes in exchange for dropping investigations against them.


Skuratov claimed Yeltsin's order was "legally unfounded" and pledged to fight it.


He said Tuesday that he had written his second resignation letter after a conversation with Yeltsin in which the president vowed to push for his ouster. It was not immediately clear how the upper house would react this time.


"I am prepared to continue working if the Federation Council expresses confidence in me," Skuratov was quoted by Interfax as saying after parliament received his letter Tuesday. If lawmakers again support Skuratov and refuse his resignation, it would be a further embarrassment to Yeltsin.


Concerning his resignation in February, Skuratov said he had been pressured by officials trying to stop his probe into alleged Kremlin corruption.


Yeltsin's decision to suspend Skuratov last week caused an uproar in parliament. Communists and other Yeltsin foes called the move illegal and said it was revenge for the prosecutor's anti-corruption effort.


Skuratov has promised to appear in the lower house, the State Duma, on Wednesday to speak about his battle with the Kremlin. It wasn't immediately clear whether his resignation would alter this plan.


Skuratov's investigation focused on possible bribe-taking by government officials who gave construction contracts to Swiss company Mabetex. The officials and Mabetex denied wrongdoing, and no one has been charged.