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International Forum Discuss Medvedev fires defiant Moscow mayor at the Political Forums; Russian Politics... Fishy at best. Medvedev fires defiant Moscow mayor By Conor Humphries Conor Humphries 3 mins ago MOSCOW ...

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Old 09-28-2010, 12:21 PM
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Default Medvedev fires defiant Moscow mayor

Russian Politics... Fishy at best.

Quote:
Medvedev fires defiant Moscow mayor

By Conor Humphries Conor Humphries 3 mins ago

MOSCOW (Reuters) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday abruptly sacked veteran Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, a powerful political opponent who criticized the Kremlin and then defied pressure to resign.

Luzhkov, 74, a pillar of the ruling United Russia party, had ruled the capital since 1992, but angered Medvedev by suggesting the country needed a stronger and more decisive leader. The remark seen as favoring the prime minister, Vladimir Putin.

Putin offered support for Medvedev's decision, suggesting the mayor had overstepped the mark by challenging the Kremlin. But he also praised Luzhkov and made clear that he himself would help choose a successor.

Luzhkov, famous for his flat working man's caps, billionaire second wife and blunt manner, used a $37-billion budget to keep pensions and public services high, remaining relatively popular despite corruption allegations, which he always denied.

The rare public spat among Russia's secretive elite was widely seen as a test of the resolve of Medvedev, junior partner to Putin in Russia's ruling tandem, ahead of the 2012 presidential election.

Medvedev, on a state visit to China, issued a decree stripping Luzhkov of his post. Russian news agencies said Luzhkov learned he had been sacked from a television report.

"As the president of Russia I lost my trust in Yuri Mikhailovich Luzhkov as the mayor of Moscow," Medvedev told journalists during his visit to Shanghai.

"I will decide who will lead Moscow
."

But Putin indicated it would be a joint decision, saying: "I hope I will have a chance to express my opinion."

SUCCESSOR NOT FINALISED

He said he had discussed the issue with Medvedev and that United Russia had begun discussing successors but had not yet come up with a list to submit to the president.

In his first public comments on the showdown between Medvedev and Luzhkov since it erupted into the open three weeks ago, Putin depicted it as a personal clash and struck a delicate balance that seemed to place him above the fray.

"Yuri Mikhailovich (Luzhkov) did a lot for Moscow's development and is something of a symbolic figure in modern Russia," Putin said.

"But it is completely clear that the mayor's relations with the president didn't work out," he told reporters at a paper mill in northern Russia. "The mayor is the president's subordinate and not the other way around -- therefore steps had to be taken to resolve the situation."

While the constitution allows the president to sack the Moscow mayor and regional governors and name a successor, top officials almost always resign before they are fired.

Luzhkov himself made no public comment but United Russia said he had quit the party. Interfax quoted an unidentified former subordinate as saying he would remain in politics to try to bring back mayoral elections.

Only on Monday, Luzhkov had returned from a holiday abroad vowing not to resign, a challenge the Kremlin could not ignore.

But Medvedev's choice of an acting mayor appeared to suggest that Luzhkov had not lost out entirely.

Vladimir Resin has held the job of first deputy mayor since 2001, and has responsibility for construction.

The Russian business daily Vedomosti last year published a photograph of Resin wearing a Swiss watch that cost more than a million Swiss francs
($1 million).

CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS
...............................................Con tinued............................................ ....
Medvedev fires defiant Moscow mayor - Yahoo! News

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