Jewish tycoon fired from top Russian post

Many Russian Jews have often expressed concern about Berezovsky's presence in the governing elite, saying his taste for power has damaged the reputation of the entire Jewish community.

In the eyes of many Russians — Jewish and non-Jewish alike — he has become a symbol of Jewish prominence in Russian business and politics.

Never shy about his Jewish origin, Berezovsky has often been the target of anti-Semitic attacks.

Last year, Berezovsky cited anti-Semitism as the main obstacle preventing him from running for the Russian presidency next year.

While Berezovsky takes almost no part in organized Jewish life, he has often spoken out on issues of concern to the Jewish community.

Most recently, he initiated calls for a ban of the Communist Party following a series of anti-Semitic statements by prominent party members.

The founder of Russia's first capitalist car dealerships, Berezovsky, 53, is widely reported to own or control large stakes in oil companies, airlines, a national television company and other media outlets.

Often referred to as a modern-day Rasputin — a Russian priest who wielded enormous power over the family of Russia's last czar — Berezovsky helped bankroll Yeltsin's come-from-behind re-election campaign in 1996.