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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'Vesti' Designs Own Version of Front Page for Times of London

State-run television channel Rossia displayed a fake version of Monday's issue of The Times of London on its news show "Vesti," featuring exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky on Monday.

Two pictures flanked the front page of the fake issue, one apparently showing Berezovsky and the other Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, with the headline, "Berezovsky is playing us, and it's embarrassing."

The newspaper did run the article, by Stefanie Marsh, and under that very headline, but in the comment and opinion six-page pullout section rather than the paper's front page.

"In no way did the piece suggest that the shown image -- which was a collage -- was the actual issue of The Times newspaper that came out on Monday," Yulia Polipova, a "Vesti" spokeswoman, said Wednesday.

In response, The Times highlighted the fact that a personal opinion piece had been presented as news reporting.

"The image shown by 'Vesti' gives a completely incorrect representation of The Times front page," said Anoushka Healy, editorial communications director for the newspaper, in e-mailed comments.

Polipova flatly dismissed speculation in the Russian media that the image may have been ordered by the Kremlin.

The article referred to Berezovsky's recently announced allegations that Scotland Yard police foiled a plot to kill him. Berezovsky said police had told him to leave Britain because his life was in danger.

During the week he was gone, police apprehended a man suspected of the plot at a Hilton hotel in central London, Berezovsky said.

In the article, Marsh criticizes Britain's decision to grant Berezovsky asylum status and suggests that he abuses the status by using his British base as a platform for an anti-Kremlin campaign to "destabilize Russia."

Moscow shares that view.

Boris Timoshenko, a media analyst at the Glasnost Foundation, called the program's actions "idiotism," but stopped short of blaming the program's editors.

"In current conditions, people understand what is expected of them," Timoshenko said, alluding to pressure from the Kremlin.

The front page of Monday's bona fide Times led with an article about a shortage of court judges in Britain.