Korzhakov Says Bombings Were Berezovsky's Doing

Alexander Korzhakov, a one-time bodyguard and confidant of President Boris Yeltsin who has since fallen out with him, said Wednesday that he believes the terrorist bombings that have swept Russia into panic and war were orchestrated by Russian intelligence at the bidding of a dark Kremlin faction that includes tycoon Boris Berezovsky.

Korzhakov said he believes the Kremlin needed the terrorism attacks to renew the war in Chechnya. He said the war was conjured up as part of a drive to establish emergency rule and postpone presidential elections.

Korzhakov also said he believed Berezovsky was in the process of trying to engineer the removal from office of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his replacement with Krasnoyarsk Governor Alexander Lebed.

Korzhakov repeated allegations that when he was the head of the Kremlin's security service, Berezovsky tried to convince him to murder Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, NTV founder Vladimir Gusinsky and popular crooner Iosif Kobzon, an ally of Luzhkov's.

Berezovsky could not be reached for comment Wednesday. He was flying abroad, an assistant in his office said.

Korzhakov, who is now a deputy in the State Duma, said Berezovsky had turned to him in hopes of arranging the murders of Luzhkov, Gusinsky and Kobzon because Korzhakov had the "necessary resources" at his disposal.

He said he had kept quiet about Berezovsky's alleged request that he kill the three men because the Kremlin repeatedly kept Berezovsky in high offices. Korzhakov said he would now file a complaint against Berezovsky over the matter with the Moscow city prosecutor's office. He said he was motivated to act now in part because Berezovsky has announced his candidacy for the Duma.

"Now, when [Berezovsky] wants to become a Duma deputy, a people's representative, I have no choice but inform the voters who this person is," Korzhakov said.

Korzhakov said Berezovsky would use his Duma seat to pursue his own business interests in Chechnya.

"What sort of interests does he have in Chechnya? I am telling you officially that he is a source for the armed fighters," Korzhakov said. "Now Prime Minister Putin has taken an absolutely correct position: to attack. And [Putin] is ready to finish off the terrorists. Who and what can divert him? Boris Abramovich Berezovsky."