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Kremlin Opponents Lose Putin Slander Suit

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (left) with RTR TV host Ernest Matskiavichus during his annual televised phone-in show in Moscow on December 3, 2009.
A Moscow court has ruled against three Russian opposition politicians who sued Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for slander over derogatory remarks he made on national television.

In an expected ruling on a rare lawsuit against Russia's most powerful man, the judge rejected claims by Boris Nemtsov and two other politicians Putin said were seeking a comeback "to line their pockets" and warned would "sell out all of Russia."

Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov, and Vladimir Milov were seeking$34,000 and a retraction from the state-run channel that broadcast a December call-in show in which Putin singled them out for criticism before millions of compatriots.

Putin suggested they were corrupt and had made off with "billions" of rubles in the 1990s, when Nemtsov and Milov held high-level government posts and Ryzhkov was in the national parliament.

compiled from agency reports