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Kasyanov M.M.

Mikhail Mikhailovitch Kasyanov (born 8 December 1957) was the Prime Minister of Russia from January 2000 to February 2004.

The arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky highlighted the split within the Kremlin between the family and the forces allied with the security forces and military called siloviki.

In 2006 Kasyanov stated his desire to run for President of Russia in 2008.
Leader of People's Democratic Union (Russia), ex-member of opposition coalition "The Other Russia".

Political career
The last member of the Russian government closely associated with Yeltsin, Kasyanov was dismissed, along with the entire Russian cabinet, by President Vladimir Putin on 24 February 2004.

On the first anniversary of his dismissal (24 February 2005) Kasyanov gave a press-conference where he said that he might run for president in the 2008 elections. His bid has been very tentatively supported by billionaires Leonid Nevzlin and Boris Berezovsky (both in exile after corruption indictments against them in Russia) and former chess champion Garry Kasparov. On March 3, 2007, Kasparov and Kasyanov spoke to thousands of supporters against Putin's government at Saint Petersburg Dissenters' March.

At the presentation in International Institute for Strategic Studies 26 June 2006, Kasyanov criticized Putin's administration. He said: "Separation of powers has been effectively demolished and replaced by the so-called Vertical of Power which is based on the false idea that all the meaningful social and political processes must be kept under control by the state. The Government and the Parliament cannot function any longer without daily instructions. The judiciary is increasingly servile. Independent TV does not exist any more at the federal level and is being quickly uprooted in the regions. Moreover, the state-owned companies and the state itself increase their grip over the electronic and printed media. Responsibility of the regional level of power is totally destroyed by the abolishment direct elections of the governors."

On July 11th, 2005, the Russian Office of Public Prosecutor started to investigate the privatization of two houses formerly owned by the government. According to allegations first made by the journalist and State Duma member Aleksandr Hinshtein, two luxury government houses were put up for sale in 2003 by Kasyanov decree. According to a court verdict of March 16, 2007, he will have to return a house and pay 108,135,000 rubles in damages to the government for using the property illegally (approx. USD 4,150,000 or 3,130,000). Kasyanov is planning to appeal.

In 2007, he founded a new party called People for Democracy and Justice.

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