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Wednesday, 19 April, 2000, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Russian prosecutor sacked
Federation Council
Deputies rejected Skuratov's dismissal three times
The upper house of the Russian Parliament, the Federation Council, has voted overwhelmingly to dismiss the country's top prosecutor, Yuri Skuratov, bringing to an end a year-long political battle.

Only 10 MPs voted against the move requested by Russia's President-elect, Vladimir Putin, while 133 approved it.

Mr Skuratov was originally suspended as Prosecutor-General by President Yeltsin in February 1999 shortly after his office began investigating corruption in the Kremlin, including Mr Yeltsin's immediate circle.

Vladimir Putin
Putin asked deputies to ratify the dismissal
But the Russian constitution requires the dismissal to be approved by the Federation Council, which refused to ratify Mr Yeltsin's decision on three separate occasions.

The country's legal system has since hung in uncertainty. Mr Skuratov was not officially dismissed; his post was filled by an acting Prosecutor-General.

Determined to fight on

In January, Mr Skuratov accused President-elect, Vladimir Putin, of shielding corrupt Kremlin aides who served under Yeltsin.

My main concern was the fate of Russia and those criminal cases launched at the cost of my own career

Yuri Skuratov
"The political system has changed. There is a new president, a new team," Mr Skuratov said after the vote.

He thanked the parliament for resisting earlier moves to dismiss him.

"I did not fight on my own behalf," he was quoted as saying. "My main concern was the fate of Russia and those criminal cases launched at the cost of my own career."

Mr Skuratov has also said that he is not going to give up "his fight against corrupt power of bureaucrats".

Yuri Skuratov ran for president in March on an anti-corruption ticket, scraping 0.43% of the vote.

Corruption allegations

Yuri Skuratov had accused Boris Yeltsin and his two daughters, Tatyana Dyachenko and Yelena Okulova, of accepting credit cards from a Swiss company, Mabetex, which won lucrative Kremlin refurbishment contracts.

They deny the claim.

Yuri Skuratov
Skuratov ran for president in March
Mr Yeltsin dismissed Mr Skuratov on grounds of alleged abuse of power shortly after his office began probing the Mabetex affair.

Within days, a videotape was broadcast on national television showing Mr Skuratov in the company of prostitutes that the Kremlin alleged were sent to him by Russian mafia dons.

Mr Skuratov never denied the authenticity of the tape but branded it an attempt to blackmail him over his private life.

The tape led to a criminal probe into Mr Skuratov's alleged activities and a long dispute between parliament and the Kremlin over whether Boris Yeltsin had the right to dismiss the prosecutor without parliamentary approval.

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