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Former Russian Oligarch Praises Putin, Medvedev

Vladimir Gusinsky

Vladimir Gusinsky

With what appears to be a conciliatory message to Russia's leadership, former oligarch and media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky has announced he is ready to return to Russia, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Gusinsky, who fled Russia for Israel eight years ago after investigations into his business activities were launched, made his comments to "The Marker Week" in Israel on October 8.

Gusinsky called Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin a "decent man" and stressed that he does not consider President Dmitry Medvedev to be "Putin's puppet."

He also said that Russia's current justice system is much better than it used to be, adding that the authorities seem to be interested in strengthening the judiciary's independence.

Nathan Lipson, the journalist who interviewed Gusinsky, told RFE/RL that Gusinsky initiated the interview. He said Gusinsky was definitely sending a message to the Russian leadership.