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Russian nationalists still prep a coup behind Putin’s back

Russian President Vladimir Putin is the only one who can keep nationalists' zeal for power, says Alexander Lebedev, a former Russian oligarch and owner of several media companies in the UK.

Russian President Vladimir Putin does not notice what is going on behind his back. Alexander Lebedev, a former Russian oligarch and owner of several media in the UK is sure that the nationalists in Russia are trying to wrest power from the Russian leader, Joinfo.ua reports with reference to The Times.

In an interview for the newspaper, the former oligarch said that nationalists were more radical and dangerous than Putin. According to Lebedev, after the murder of the opposition leader Nemtsov, the "dark forces" are seeking to topple President of Russia and seize the power. Western sanctions imposed in response to aggression in Ukraine, only contribute to strengthening of the radicals.

"Putin is not Mugabe. This is not North Korea yet," Lebedev said, noting that today Putin is the only one who can restrain nationalists' zeal. At the same time, the ex-oligarch told how many years the Russian government had tried to put pressure on him for financing Novaya Gazeta, which had consistently criticized the policies of the Kremlin.

Now, under the pressure of the Russian power, he decided to give up this sponsorship. "I wanted some respite. I wanted some time with the kids," said Lebedev, who now lives in London. According to him, the newspaper can be closed from May 9 despite the fact that in recent years the journalists has not criticized Putin directly.

"I would rather do a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed, than Putin," said Lebedev. According to him, for ten years, Russia has changed a lot. However, today it has been "captured by the dark forces" and it's scary. The former oligarch says that Russia was at an "important historical crossroads," but he believes that it was "not too late to choose a liberal escape path."