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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 March, 2004, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Russian jailed for rival's murder
Sergei Yushenkov
Yushenkov was shot outside his apartment block
A Russian politician has been jailed for 20 years for ordering the murder of a rival, Russian news agencies report.

Mikhail Kodanev was convicted two weeks ago of paying for the death of Sergei Yushenkov, 52.

The murder was one of Russia's highest-profile political killings for years.

The men were part of rival factions of the Liberal Russia Party, founded by now exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky. Kodanev led a breakaway faction backed by Mr Berezovsky.

Kodanev killed Mr Yushenkov to take control of party funding, the court heard, paying $60,000 for the contract killing.

Boris Berezovsky
Berezovsky backed faction led by Kodanev
Mr Yuskenkov was gunned down outside his apartment block in Moscow in April 2003.

The gunman, Alexander Kulachinsky, was convicted of murder and jailed for 20 years.

The Liberal Russia Party, set up to rival President Vladimir Putin, was seen as having little political weight even before the murder.

Two other men convicted of helping organise the murder, Alexander Vinnik and Igor Kiselyev were sentenced to 10 and 11 years each respectively.

Mr Berezovsky, a close associate of Kodanev, accuses Russian authorities of organising the murder.

Mr Yushenkov was the second leader of Liberal Russia to be murdered in less than a year. Another co-chairman, Vladimir Golovlyov, was shot dead in August 2002.

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