Moscow: Moscow`s longest serving mayor
Yuri Luzhkov, whom the state media has accused of corruption,
may lose his job in the wake of show-down with President
Dmitry Medvedev`s Kremlin team, according to a media report.
According to leading business daily "Kommersant",
sources close to Moscow City Hall have not ruled out that
Luzhkov, who turned 74 on last September 21 may submit sign
his resignation `early next week, possibly on Monday` after
returning from a week-long vacation in Austria at a resort
owned by his wife Elena Baturina, Russia`s richest woman
according to Forbes.
The Kremlin accused Luzhkov of attempting to drive a
wedge between the ruling Medvedev-Putin tandem in his article
published by the government daily Rossiskaya Gazeta and
cautioned that Medvedev reserves the right to sack any
regional boss including Luzhkov.
It also unleashed a smear campaign in state-run media
against Luzhkov and his billionaire wife. Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin, so far has refrained from making any comment
on the spat.
Luzhkov has been serving as the mayor of Moscow and
head of the city government since 1992 and de facto combines
the posts of governor and chief minister in one person.
"Novaya Gazeta" co-owned by ex-Soviet President
Mikhail Gorbachev today said a tandem could be appointed to
replace Luzhkov by way of separating the two posts held by
Putin`s close aide, vice-premier Sergei Sobyanin
could be appointed mayor (governor) of Moscow and former
deputy mayor Valery Shantsev, currently Nizhny Novgorod
governor, could fill the post of the head of the city
The Speaker of the Moscow city Duma (legislature)
Vladimir Platonov told Interfax that Moscow City Charter
allows the appointment of separate persons on the posts of the
Mayor and Head of the City Government, currently held by
Kommersant said the public opinion polls showed that
the defamation campaign against Luzhkov was becoming
detrimental to the federal authorities rather than the mayor.
About 42.2 per cent of Russians polled think that the
leadership in other Russian regions is more corrupt than in
Moscow, while 49.8 per cent said they believed federal power
bodies were just as corrupt as the Moscow authorities,
pollster Levada Centre said.