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A master of political manipulation, Berezovsky had been known as the “godfather of the Kremlin” and wielded immense influence during a decade that followed the Soviet collapse.
Once a mathematician with Nobel Prize aspirations, he built a massive business empire under former President Boris Yeltsin and was the first of Russia’s so-called oligarchs.
He then became one of the first victims of a ruthless political crackdown of the early Putin era after falling out with his protege.
Once in exile, Berezovsky often said he feared for his life, particularly after the fatal poisoning of his friend and former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko with a dose of the radioactive isotope polonium-210 in London in 2006.
Another friend and business partner, Badri Patarkatsishvili, also died in unclear circumstances two years later.
For many, Berezovsky personified the decade of wild capitalism, chaos and violence that followed the Soviet fall. He left a trail of enemies in Russia and beyond, and no doubt once featured on many a hit list.
Berezovsky survived an assassination attempt in 1994 when a bomb exploded in his car, decapitating his driver.
In his final months he led a much less extravagant life, apparently bitter and broken and rarely seen in public.
He suffered another blow in 2011 when he was forced to pay one of Britain’s biggest divorce settlements to his former wife Galina. Media reported the settlement topped $100 million.
“My father was not the typical parent, nothing about him was ordinary,” said his daughter Anastasia in a tribute. “He has coloured my life in infinite ways, and I know that what he concerned himself most with was making all his children proud.”