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Moscow court to consider opposition's defamation lawsuit against Putin

Vladimir PutinMOSCOW, February 3 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow's Savyolovsky Court will on Thursday hold hearings on a libel lawsuit against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin filed by opposition figures Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and Vladimir Milov.

In his annual call-in show on December 16, 2010, Putin asserted that the three opposition figures had stolen billions of dollars together with now-exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky in the 1990s.

Putin also alleged that if they ever gained power, they would "sell out the entire country."

Nemtsov, Milov and Ryzhkov filed a defamation suit on December 23, demanding 1 million rubles ($33,000) in damages and that the Rossiya 1 television run a retraction.

The Rossiya 1 TV channel and Russian media holding VGTRK have been named as co-defendants.

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