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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Berezovsky May Run For Duma

Boris Berezovsky's star may have been fading a few months ago, but it is burning bright once again. The business tycoon is not only expanding his already sizable media empire, but now he is flirting with the idea of running for office, his spokesman said Wednesday, a first for the behind-the-scenes Kremlin player.

Having purchased a controlling share of the TV 6 television channel, Berezovsky is now bidding for the Kommersant publishing house.

Moskovsky Komsomolets reported Wednesday that Berezovsky outbid Alfa Bank for Kommersant, but that was not confirmed by the newspaper as well by Berezovsky's spokesman.

These media assets could come in handy if Berezovsky runs for the State Duma in the December elections.

The Izvestia newspaper on Wednesday said the businessman might launch his campaign from Tula, a city 180 kilometers south of Moscow known for its arms industry. The city left its mark on the political landscape by electing General Alexander Lebed to the State Duma in 1995. The following year Tula residents voted in President Boris Yeltsin's out-of-favor bodyguard, Alexander Korzhakov.

A parliamentary seat would give Berezovsky immunity from criminal prosecution. He is currently facing a politically-charged investigation of allegations he illegelly diverted cash from the Aeroflot airline.

Berezovsky's spokesman, Vladimir Ruga, said Wednesday that the question of running for a Duma seat "is under consideration," but that he did not know of any plans to launch a campaign from Tula.

Earlier this year, a group of laid-off engineers who lost their jobs at the Tula Cartridge Plant sent a letter to Berezovsky offering to nominate him as their deputy. Andrei Nefyodov, a journalist with Tula's Molodoi Kommunnar newspaper, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that the engineers admired Berezovsky as a manager.

"It is quite possible that Berezovsky has similar letters from every region," Nefyodov said. "People know that he is not a poor man and perhaps hope to get something out of a campaign."