The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Aleksandr Litvinenko, intelligence officer and Russian dissident who was murdered in London in 2006.
“In 2000 Aleksandr Litvinenko, a former KGB (and later FSB) officer, sought political asylum in Britain. Prior to his arrival, Litvinenko had spoken publicly in Russia of a Kremlin plot to kill the businessman, Boris Berezovsky. Litvinenko was dismissed from the FSB, served time in prison, and became a marked man.”
The billionaire owner of Barclays Premier League club Chelsea was accused of betraying the man who allegedly helped to build his fortune so that he could curry favour with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Roman Abramovich, in a rare public appearance, listened as lawyers for Boris Berezovsky told the High Court in London that the Russian oligarch had taken advantage of his former mentor’s fall from grace to enrich himself by bullying him out of billions of dollars worth of shares.
Berezovsky, 65, is suing Abramovich for more than $6 billion. He claims that he was intimidated by Abramovich, 44, into selling his stake in Sibneft, an oil company, for far less than it was worth after being forced to flee Russia, having fallen out with the Kremlin.
Berezovsky claims that Abramovich coerced him into selling his 21.5 percent stake in Sibneft, which was created through the privatization ofRussia’s oil infrastructure, for only $1.3 billion, when it was worth up to $6 billion.
He claims Abramovich threatened that his assets would be seized by the Kremlin and his friends in Russia would be in danger if he did not sell the shares for less than they were worth.
This is denied by Abramovich, who argues that they were never business partners.
The case, which has been through four years of preliminary skirmishes, is one of the biggest trials to have come before the English courts. Insiders claim that it will put the publicity-shy Abramovich’s business dealings under uncomfortable scrutiny and expose his ties with the Kremlin.
The trial is expected to last three months.
Buford Balony says: Hopefully this is the end for Chelski and they return to where they belong…at the bottom of the table.
The circumstances of his death were unclear, though there were unconfirmed claims that the former power-broker of Russian politics had killed himself at the property in Ascot.
In an interview with Forbes Russia magazine on the eve of his death, Berezovsky said he had lost “meaning” from his life and wanted to return to Russia. He said he had “underestimated how important” Russia was to him, and he felt uncomfortable as an immigrant in Britain.
Berezovsky is believed to have written to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, recently to float the idea of going back to his homeland. If he did, he said, he had no interest in engaging in politics and would focus on science.
Last year, Berezovsky lost a high-profile civil court case against another Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich. The case, the largest civil court case in British history, reportedly put Berezovsky in a bad spot, as it had damaged his reputation and hurt him financially. At the time of the ruling, the judge said this about Berezovsky: “I found Mr Berezovsky an unimpressive, and inherently unreliable, witness, who regarded truth as a transitory, flexible concept, which could be moulded to suit his current purposes.”
Modest Mussorgsky - Night on Bald Mountain, 1867. Reorchestrated and adapted by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, 1886.
Transcription for Solo Piano by Konstantin Chernov, adapted by Boris Berezovsky.
Performed by Boris Berezovsky.
The Night on Bald Mountain, a “fantasy for orchestra,” was originally conceived by Mussorgsky as a tone poem describing the Russian legend that talks of a witches’ sabbath taking place on St. John’s Night on the bald mountain (Lysa Hora) near Kiev. Rimsky-Korsakov’s revision of the piece stays true to the program, as seen below.
“Subterranean sounds of unearthly voices. Appearance of the Spirits of Darkness, followed by that of Chornobog. Glorification of Chornobog and celebration of the Black Mass. Witches’ Sabbath. At the height of the orgy, the bell of the little village church is heard from afar. The Spirits of Darkness are dispersed. Daybreak.”
Sergei Rachmaninov | Prelude Op.23 No.4 in D major (1901-03)
Boris Berezovksy, piano
A piece that is often overshadowed by it’s much more famous antecedent, the “march-prelude” Op.23 No.5, the more subtle prelude in D major might remind one of rain falling on the Russian pastoral–an effect achieved in no small part by the constant triple-duple polyrhythm. The piece seems to share some figuring and textural details with the renowned Andante movement from the sonata for cello and piano, composed within the same period. [I will add as an aside that it is nice to see Berezovsky’s more tender side–though he still plays the piece quite fast compared to, say, Ashkenazy, it is well-employed and extremely tasteful here.]