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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A Faction of Liberal Russia Reinstates Berezovsky

One of two rival wings in the Liberal Russia party voted Sunday to reinstate Boris Berezovsky and a number of his allies, who were ousted from the party late last year. Liberal Russia's leaders, however, immediately denounced the vote as illegitimate and called those who took part in it "imposters."

Berezovsky plans to run for a State Duma seat on Liberal Russia's ticket, despite a conflict with party leadership and Russian prosecutors' attempts to extradite him on fraud charges.

Sunday's disputed meeting of the party's central council was the latest episode in a bitter battle between Berezovsky and Liberal Russia co-chairmen Viktor Pokhmelkin and Boris Zolotukhin -- a conflict that has heated up since the April 17 slaying of the party's third co-chairman, Sergei Yushenkov.

One-time Kremlin powerbroker Berezovsky helped found the opposition Liberal Russia movement in early 2002 and has given it funding ever since, Andrei Sidelnikov, a spokesman for the party's pro-Berezovsky faction, said Sunday.

But Yushenkov, Pokhmelkin and Zolotukhin broke with the self-exiled tycoon last fall after he declared a plan to form an anti-Kremlin alliance with the Communists. Justice Ministry officials have confirmed that, under the law, Berezovsky's party membership has been terminated.

Pokhmelkin told Interfax that those who attended Sunday's meeting are "supporters of London-based entrepreneur Boris Berezovsky or, to be more exact, supporters of his money, who -- along with Berezovsky himself -- were ejected from the Liberal Russia party last year for violating its charter."

Berezovsky spoke at the meeting by video link from London.

Pokhmelkin said a meeting of the central council can only be called by party leaders at the request of one-third of its regional offices and neither he nor Zolotukhin had received any such request.

Sidelnikov, who was among the party members reinstated at the controversial meeting, said Pokhmelkin and another top party official, Yuly Nisnevich, were voted out of the party Sunday.

Pokhmelkin scoffed at the decision, especially since Berezovsky's supporters passed an identical resolution last winter only to see it slapped down by the Justice Ministry.

"We plan to find out in detail who exactly took part in today's meeting under the aegis of our party," Zolotukhin, a respected lawyer, told Interfax. "There is no question that we will respond accordingly -- which could include ejection from the party for violating its charter."