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    KEEP OLIGARCHS OFF RUSSIAN POLITICS, CALLS SENATE SPEAKER

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 27 (RIA NOVOSTI) - Tycoons must not have the say-so in Russian politics, said Speaker Sergei Mironov of the Federation Council, parliament's upper house. He was addressing the media tonight after presidential hopeful Irina Hakamada announced she would bring a libel suit against him, and called the top prosecutor to launch libel proceedings.

    Criminals were financing Miss Hakamada's campaign, alleged the Speaker as the two hopefuls met in pre-election debates on the government RTR television.

    "Russian politics must be cleaned of oligarchs' diktat. That is my profound conviction. We all know how eager they are to untie their purse - strings for all kinds of election campaigns, how they bribe MPs and seek to influence all ruling bodies. A notorious petroleum tycoon, now outside Russia [Leonid Nevzlin] did Miss Hakamada a bad turn as he announced he was ready to finance her campaign," Sergei Mironov said today.

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