Moscow Mayor Relieved From Office After 18 Years Of Service
The Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, dismissed on Tuesday morning Moscow’s Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, after 18 years in office, according to AFP.
The measure is seen as a very courageous of Medvedev, the mayor being harshly criticized for the way he managed the crisis caused by wildfires in the summer. The decree published on the Kremlin website, requires that Luzhkov, 74 years old, to be “removed from the position of mayor of Moscow, because he lost confidence in front of the Russian president.”
“It’s hard to imagine a situation in which (Luzhkov) and the president of Russia … continue to work together when the president has lost confidence in the regional leader,” Medvedev said in Shanghai, where he was on an official visit.
The document was issued while Medvedev was on a visit to China and called Luzhkov’s deputy, Vladimir Resin, as the future mayor of Moscow. The decree was published a day after the mayor returned from his trip to China. Kremlin publicly criticized Luzhkov for his decision to take a leave of absence in August, when Moscow was covered in smog from fires. The mayor has also been involved in corruption scandals, several TV stations revealing documents this month which incriminate him. Besides allegations of corruption relating to the construction business of his wife, billionaire Elena Baturina, the former Mayor of Moscow was also accused of having destroyed the historical center of Moscow.
Monday, Luzhkov said he would not resign voluntarily. He was appointed by Boris Yeltsin in 1992 and became popular among Moscow’s residents due to several city beautification projects. Before being a mayor was appointed by the presidency which started in 2005, Luzhkov won elections easily. But, recently he has been harshly criticized by the opposition for sending off the police to calm even the smallest protest in Moscow and for describing the gay rights marshes as “satanic”. The Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, however, has recently shown a lot more reluctance towards the issue of the mayor of Moscow.
For years Luzhkov has remained despite rumors that his days are numbered, with many attributing his sticking power to his ability to deliver the Moscow vote for Putin’s United Russia party, which he helped create. Firing him now gives the Kremlin time to appoint a successor who can also guarantee loyalty before the 2011 parliamentary elections and the 2012 presidential vote.
Luzhkov, meanwhile, leaves a considerable legacy. Under Luzhkov’s long tenure, Moscow became a beautiful metropolis and as the prices for Russia’s oil and gas soared and foreign investment poured into the vastly underdeveloped country, Russia’s capital sprouted gigantic construction projects — malls, offices and soaring apartment towers.11