Moscow: Russia`s opposition leaders on Thursday
said they were filing defamation suits against
president-turned-premier Vladimir Putin who accused them of
seeking to squander Russia`s resources.
"This is nothing else but lies and slander," Boris
Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister under late president
Boris Yeltsin turned opposition leader, said.
"We demand from Putin an apology and a million roubles
(USD 32,600) in compensation," Nemtsov said.
"We intend to spend this million to print materials
about corruption in Putin`s circle," he added.
He said that the first lawsuit had already been sent
to a court by mail and another one would be lodged next month.
During a marathon question-and-answer session with
ordinary Russians last week, Putin was asked what Nemtsov and
two other key opposition figures -- former MP Vladimir Ryzhkov
and former deputy energy minister Vladimir Milov -- were
"What do they want? Money and power. They have been
pulled away from the trough, they`ve spent all they had, now
they would like to return and line their pockets.
"But I think if we allow them to do it they would not
limit themselves to mere billions, they will sell off all of
Russia," Putin told Russians during the phone-in session that
lasted four-and-a-half hours.
He directly accused the opposition politicians of
stealing "billions" together with self-exiled Russian
businessman Boris Berezovsky.
Observers say Berezovsky, known as the country`s top
kingmaker in the 90s, had helped Putin ascend to power in the
1990s before falling out of favour with him.