Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Cutting Edge -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) is Russian roulette. Russian politics or not? Are you prepared to take risk And I enjoy this life. made his billion-dollar fortune Boris Berezovsky in the chaos of Yeltsin's Russia. in the world He became one of the richest men the shackles of Communism as Russia shook off core industries at knockdown prices and the state sold off to a favoured few. Aluminium in the Urals, oil in Siberia, steel in the steppes. They all fell into his hands. Nobody was safe. Crime flourished. Berezovsky survived a car bomb, in front of him. his driver decapitated Money first - power next.

with a cabinet post In 1996, he cemented his rise President Yeltsin. under long-term ally Rumours ran that it was Berezovsky

running the country. that was actually The silent power, The grey cardinal, The kingmaker. But in 1999, it all went wrong. for the sick president. He had to find a replacement And he backed the wrong horse. hand-picked choice Vladimir Putin was Berezovsky's as Yeltsin's successor. without even an election. Hoisted on the Russian people turned on the puppet master. But then, the puppet and his fellow oligarchs. The ex-KGB man took on Berezovsky for his popular support. Their money was no match He denounced Berezovsky. Charges of fraud and deception the grey cardinal. were brought against or forced into exile. Other oligarchs were jailed was now the president. The most powerful man in Russia 2000. from being the kingmaker Beresovsky had gone to public enemy number one.

Question. What to do?

escape and exile. The only answer... Now on the run, is the dream of revenge. Berezovsky's only consolation by constitutional way. Putin will not be removed I have told all of oligarchs responsibility for the country. we should take political now lives in Britain. Boris Berezovsky dotted around the home counties. Houses for him and his family he won political asylum here Two years ago danger from Russian secret agents. claiming his life was in constant

of ex-Foreign Legion veterans He employs a team to guard him round the clock. warrant out for Berezovsky's arrest. And there is still an Interpol to the sheet. Putin daily adds charges What do they want you for now? INTERVIEWER: Now they said that in '96 near Moscow. I stole 14 hectares of land And it's so serious warrant to arrest me in England. they want to issue international does not believe And I'm sure that Putin a telephone and call to court that Blair is not able to take

immediately extradite Berezovsky." and say "Come on, doesn't understand that. Putin really, really no one time they prove anything. What is important is that No one time. are severely restricted. Berezovsky's movements He can only fly to Israel. he still holds citizenship there. As a Jew, or Israel, and he's in trouble. Anywhere other than Britain They saw a yacht next door. INTERVIEWER: It's my dream.

British territorial waters. I guess you could sail around Where could you sail it? What? it takes several years No, I... if to build I will be absolutely flexible and I'm sure that time to travel all over the world. how should Boris fill the days? In this gilded cage, Why, plot of course. Working out a plan to topple Putin to the throne of Russia. and take Boris back A key part of the strategy - in Russia. his last remaining media asset the country's Financial Times. The newspaper Kommersant, Breakfast over, the next fix - move in Moscow politics. a daily digest of every significant Revenge is strong poison and necessitates strange bedfellows. is Alex Goldfarb, Boris's key lieutenant a famous Soviet dissident. the '80s, and a lifetime of intrigue. He fled Russia for America in I got involved with Boris when I realised on the right side. that he is happening to be to put his money where his mouth is. He is the guy who is prepared when he was targeted by Putin It happened sacrificial lamb as... to be the number one in this drive against the oligarchs. Hello. Hi. My name is Boris Berezovsky. Nice to meet you. Sorry about that. Oh! Hello, Mr Berezovsky. of Berezovsky's strategy, The first plank Putin's reputation in the West a concerted attempt to blacken as the new-found friend while positioning Boris of democracy and freedom. Today, behind closed doors, of EU policy-makers. he's addressing a private gathering He can only be resisted. Putin cannot be appeased. one side will lose. One side will win, History will show.

welcome to Mr Boris Berezovsky. I ask you to give a very warm Thank you very much. Russia... Russia will collapse Ladies and gentleman, or Putin will collapse. and start to move country back. Putin took power

in general He really doesn't believe democracy because he doesn't understand. control of the Kremlin And today parliament is under 100% of the Kremlin. and court also under 100% control independence of regions. And now Putin's trying to destroy of Putin regime is not long. I really think that the time Thank you very much. Okay. is his own record in Russia. Berezovsky's Achilles heel in the West He might cut a fine figure but he's a man with a past. for what they thought In the '90s, thousands gave him money first private car factory. would be a share in Russia's Berezovsky to keep their money, But the small print allowed pay a single rouble to a share-owner. buy his factory, and never once

for the state's campaign against him, The episode forms the basis about him. and colours Russian popular opinion

Today's sales pitch finds a good reception. The climate of perception about Putin's Russia is changing.

Phase two of the campaign,

Boris may be confined to Britain's shores but his billions aren't - they can work overseas. Now the political crisis in Ukraine. The country's top court has effectively blocked the new president from taking office. It will consider allegations of election fraud. For four days now tens of thousands of people supporting the opposition leader have been protesting on the streets of the capital Kiev. The Ukrainian election has produced a shock result, and the people want a recount. On the one side, the man who lost, the people's choice, Victor Yuschenko. On the other, the surprise victor, Putin's choice Victor Yanukovich. The suspicion is that Russia fixed the outcome. CROWD CHANTS The row is manna for Boris's onslaught on the president. Completely in tune with his constant refrain. INTERVIEWER: You know the workings of the Kremlin. How critical is this moment in not just Ukraine's future, but Russia's? Putin doesn't understand it's not in his power to allow or not allow Ukrainian people to move forward to independence and freedom. Putin think that he has power to control the situation in Ukraine. And I think it means that Putin is criminal. And I think he understands himself already like that. Thanks very much. That's very good. In two weeks time, the Ukrainian Supreme Court will announce whether the election will have to be re-run. In secret, Boris is pouring millions into sustaining the spontaneous demonstrations in Kiev. He's also in daily contact with the key opposition leaders. Victory for Yuschenko might aid the spread of democracy,

but it would also be a massive coup for the anti Putin project, and bring the grey cardinal a thousand miles closer to a return to Moscow. I want to move closer to Russia. I want to move to Kiev. Isn't it good when your travel plans coincide with the general good of the world? (Man laughs)

CROWD CHEERS The election is on. Barring a massive upset, Yuschenko will win. It's Boris's first clear victory. MAN SINGS TRIUMPHANT ARIA Berezovsky's strategy is to hurt Russia along its borders, to destabilise its former satellite nations. First Ukraine in the south, now for the north. This is his private jet.

Berezovsky's not headed for his holiday home in Israel, instead somewhere far colder... where he can test the limits of his confinement and undermine Putin's authority. Russia is just 100 miles away. The Russian army have instructions to seize Berezovsky if he's within reach. Boris is happy to take the risk. Put his head in easy reach of Putin's noose if, by so doing,

he can make the Russian president look increasingly impotent. But as a precaution he's doubled his bodyguard. Putin takes the bait, the Russians have called the Latvian president. They now know Boris is here and they're threatening to come and get him if the Latvians don't give him up. Berezovsky leaves for a hastily arranged meeting with unnamed Latvian officials. Behind the scenes, steps by Russia to get him arrested and extradited to Russia. He is a wanted man. The Russians redouble their threats. They say troops are mobilising. The Latvians will only guarantee Berezovsky's safety for another ten minutes. As Boris jets out, the Latvian government descends into chaos. There are calls for the resignation of two senior ministers that he met secretly. The governing coalition nearly splits apart. Russia threatens to cut off Latvian energy supplies. But Boris is happy. From the comfort of his jet, he scored another victory against Putin, and once more put the name of Berezovsky on the front pages. My strategy and tactic is the same now. To change Putin's regime, politically very dangerous for Russia and for the world, to democratic regimes. And I think we have done a lot for that. Because Putin's image is damaged, damaged a lot. And no one serious politician in the world really recognises Putin as a democratic person. And I participate personally to do that and I am happy with that. There is the beginning of revolution, there is no end of revolution. (Laughs) Maybe Berezovsky is on the way back. A new holiday destination in Latvia, a new president in the Ukraine. The only irritant, his involvement in the revolution still isn't public, so no visa for him yet. His wife has to go to Yuschenko's inauguration as his representative. But visa or no visa, Boris still aims to leave a permanent mark on the Ukraine. The Berezovsky Foundation, Kiev Branch, is to be founded. Better to be in Europe than in this crumbling empire. Alex is sent to set it up. The revolution is still being celebrated. Isn't it amazing? You work behind the scenes, you do things and then suddenly people are in the streets and that's amazing.

It's like science, you know, you do the experiment in test tubes and there's just a little tinkering and then something big comes out. Boris is not going to stop at a mere foundation. He wants influence. He opens up a sister paper to Kommersant with Timoshenko's former political adviser. Boris helped Orange Revolution not only with money. Ah, he helped with his ideas, with his team, um, with his relationships, with his media and so on. Now we see a new country and we are a new big newspaper, I think the biggest one. So this revolutionary drive will export to Belorussia and Moldova and so on. But there are rumblings of discontent about the focus on the Ukraine, inside the Berezovsky media empire. His key lieutenants are summoned to a crisis meeting. Unrepentant, Boris presses on.

With a newspaper up and running, his foundation in place,

he now wants his Ukrainian visa. To cement his application and further blacken Putin's reputation

he quietly offers the new Ukrainian government a set of secret tapes which he bought five years ago. Recordings of the previous government's most private conversations, they offer a partial proof of an official conspiracy to murder a troublesome journalist. The new state prosecutor flies to London to get them. Boris makes doubly sure the world knows. He decides to go public. It's history. Does the Watergate, you know, tapes help the United States? I remember the recordings in the Oval Office. It's part of the history, the recordings in the presidential office. Does it help or does it not help? That's for historians to judge.

The Ukrainians decide Berezovsky and his tapes are too hot to handle. Fear of neighbouring Russia and its furious president outweighs the lure of an oligarch with a murky past. The Ukrainians park his visa application, permanently. Boris is back in his gilded cage. My visit to Ukraine, it's not problem of Berezovsky, but Ukraine. Are they really build democracy, it's not my problem, it's problem of Ukraine. How Ukraine identified herself as a country, as a democratic country, or a country which depends on Russia which follow no democratic rules but some special games. Putin would consider any act of benevolence towards Boris by any country as a personal affront. And from that the whole international crisis arises with regard to his visa. We helped them, we really helped them, and Alex travelled to Kiev. We delivered the material to the prosecutor's office

and to the investigators. Dictaphone, remote control. They really needed these materials and we happened to have these materials. And if it's reason not to give me visa I don't understand really er... what is real way of er... thoughts of authorities. And his other Ukrainian initiative isn't going so well either. Today the new Kommersant staff are putting together a dummy issue for the first time. Six months on - no visa, the launch of his paper on hold, the anti Putin project is stalled, its progenitor still confined to these shores. I don't want to limit my life what Putin want. Putin is a bandit, a real bandit. As a bandit, I don't have any doubt that he will try to damage me Putin really hates my interest in Ukraine. Boris's PR machine is still pumping out the message of defiance. The trouble with this world is that one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. There is a dirty tricks campaign being waged against him, to attack him, to physically intimidate or attempt to intimidate him and to mount media attacks on him at every level. And where if he approaches authorities in other countries he discovers that there is a file on record put there by the Russians questioning his integrity, his financial status, his political status. They argue this is more than just a visa application. I've worked for F.W. de Klerk, Ronald Reagan and, of course, I worked for Mrs Thatcher. I think Boris Berezovsky is a very important person because he believes more profoundly in democracy and in human rights than almost anybody I've come across.

But as summer arrives, something unexpected happens. Something that completely restores Berezovsky's sagging fortunes. Once thought to be Russia's richest man, today Mikhail Khodorkovsky was sentenced to 9 years in jail. The billionaire was found guilty of fraud and tax evasion in a trial criticised in the West as politically motivated. Mikhail Khodorkovsky charged with a string of economic crimes. After a trial lasting a year today Mr Khodorkovsky found guilty. Sentenced to nine years in a prison camp. The verdict on the Khodorkovsky trial completely changes the dynamic of anti Putin politics. Even George W. is coming round to Boris's world view. Good day. Thank you. Please be seated. I expressed my concerns about the case to President Putin because, as I explained to him, here you're innocent until proven guilty and it appeared to us, at least people in my administration, that it looked like he had been judged guilty prior to having a fair trial. He was put in prison, then tried.

And so we've expressed our concerns about the system. The sentence is so harsh that it forces other opposition groups to consider an alliance with the one man they've all shunned - until now. Many people, I think even majority, in Russia and the West thought in different way. They thought that he'll be released, yeah? And what happened yesterday, it's really shock. We are now in a position to form alliances and coalitions with various people and groups. We have now right to do everything what we want. So one thing is forming some sort of a broad-base coalition to see whether an Orange Revolution in Russia is possible. We're not just follow just legal way, let's say. Because already all of us, all the country, already out of constitutional space. I think that's very important. Okay? Okay, thank you. The key to this end game lies in the affections and wealth

of the enraged Khodorkovsky camp. Leonid Nevzlin, Khodorkovsky's partner, lives in Israel. Boris is in touch instantly the verdict is delivered. But Nevzlin escaped a Moscow murder charge for political asylum, and he's wary of Berezovsky's entreaties. He can make great mistakes and Putin is his big mistake. And he should correct his mistakes. I know Berezovsky for a long time. He's very complicated, very tough, very energetic, yeah, but he loves Russia. He is inside Russia all his life, he is Russian politician. Yeah? And he was good for Russia and Putin not. He hates Russia, he hates Russian people. Yeah? He loves only himself, like president of Russia. And the main thing is that one of them is a very clever man and another is fool. There are a lot of scorpions in this battle against Putin, believe me. A lot of. Eventually Nevzlin agrees to let his staff meet Berezovsky's and discuss possibilities. A meeting is set up in London. Alex Goldfarb is ordered to catch the red-eye from New York. We obviously are on the same side but there have been not much co-operation. And I just wanted to sit down with him

and see whether we can co-operate and whether we can help each other and so on because they do have people working for them in the United States, I'm sure. Obviously some advisers are cautious and maybe there is some sense in it. At least as long as Khodorkovsky and Nevzlin had some hope. Maybe it was wise for them to keep a distance from us. But maybe it's about time to join forces. The meeting is set for midnight on neutral territory.

They are trying to preserve an empire. They think we're the enemy and they're going after us, as simple as that. Because some fucked up KGB officer came to power in Russia, that's it. The Khodorkovsky camp are reluctant to commit but they do agree to consider a firm alliance. And Boris has sent in his top man to sort out Kommersant.

The makeover starts right away. Goldfarb is just back from scoping out the next target

for Operation Freedom - the United States of America. Berezovsky can only achieve his dream of revenge if he's got the tacit support of the US administration. Boris needs to cement his alliance with the Khodorkovsky camp if he's going to influence the US trip.

Berezovsky flies out to meet Nevzlin in Israel. Nevzlin goes to the US and addresses the Senate and proclaims the Berezovsky message, "Putin must go". The moment Nevzlin set foot in the United States at the invitation of the US Senate

prompted sensation in the Russian media

that Nevzlin, who is on international arrest warrant, who is accused of murder, is now speaking in the US Senate. I am determined to bring Boris to the United States in the fall, in September or October, and we have secured invitations from very prominent academic centres, such as Harvard University or Think Tanks in Washington. At the time of the revolution they're the ones who organised and were not afraid.

It's not difficult, just a matter of money at the moment. Over the summer, Operation Berezovksy moves up another gear. Boris goes on the stump. Most important, Putin destroyed the basic mechanism of democracy in Russia. Kommersant gets a launch date. It's all looking up. And Boris even has time to invest in Latin American football. We did it. We did it. And then it's finally public. Boris paid millions to the Kiev revolutionaries. The Ukranians are horrified. He's unrepentant. I was really surprised that people who were around Yuschenko, very close to him, lied so much. But I want to use this statement that they're really lying, saying they didn't know me, they didn't visit me, they didn't do anything with me. They initiated our meetings. Before the revolution they need help, and they asked me to help, and they came to London and they ask help. Not only money. They ask also advice. You've confirmed that the documents showing the payments are genuine although you won't comment on who received the payments. And you're confirming they asked for help and you agreed although you won't say what that help consisted of. Don't you think that damages some of the people involved in this somehow? I don't understand your question. Do you propose me to lie? No, not at all. Good. I didn't initiate anything. I didn't initiate our connections. I didn't do something wrong. And I don't understand why I should hide that when I tell you what I told you. Thank you. Always very exciting. Yeah, fantastic. It's a mark of the change in Boris's fortunes

that six months on, there's no threat of extradition, no need to flee at five minutes notice. Boris claims it's a simple business trip. He's selling educational software

and he's brought along his new business partner. I'm excited to be here, it's my first visit. And I enjoy looking forward to learning about Latvia and sharing a lot about what I do, see if we can do it here as well. Who are your partners in Latvia? Boris Berezovsky's back there. You recognise him. A great guy. He knows this region and he's very helpful in a strategic sense for us.

We're really happy to have him as a partner. Neil has very professional software for education. Really, I think it could be useful for young children here. Well, Neil Bush... Neil Bush, is brother of the president and locally he is recognised as such. And the presence of a prominent and respected American here wouldn't harm. It's all coming together and it's nice to know that you are on the right side. Clearly when history is written, we will be totally vindicated. NEIL BUSH: Is this good for security to have a big group like this? I'll feel better when I die in a group. In one year Boris Berezovsky has gone from hiding out in his gilded cage to a night-time tryst in a public park with the US president's brother. His nemesis, Vladimir Putin, is severely weakened. But Putin's still in power and Boris isn't yet back on the throne. It's half time and there's everything to play for. Putin will not be removed by constitutional way. Russian politics is Russian roulette. Are you prepared to take risk or not? Monument of Freedom? That's very nice. Very nice. Captions (c) SBS Australia 2006

This program is captioned live.