Former Mayor Luzhkov Says Putin is Avoiding Him

Former Mayor Luzhkov Says Putin is Avoiding Him

Published: November 7, 2012 (Issue # 1734)

MOSCOW — Yury Luzhkov said he feels like a pariah two years after his ouster as Moscow’s mayor, with President Vladimir Putin and other officials going out of their way to avoid him.

Luzhkov, speaking in an interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets published Tuesday, said he has not met with Putin since then-President Dmitry Medvedev fired him over “a loss of confidence” in October 2010.

“No we haven’t met,” he said, adding that he believed Putin was avoiding him.

He said he resigned from the Russian Geographical Society, where Putin serves as chairman of the board of trustees, over such “politicking.”

“I received an invitation and agenda for a meeting in St. Petersburg. A half hour later, the courier returned and retracted the invitation because Putin was going to attend the meeting,” Luzhkov said. “These people didn’t want to meet with me even a year after I left my post.”

Luzhkov, who served as mayor for 18 years, left in disgrace amid a power struggle with the Kremlin. In the weeks before his dismissal, state-controlled television aired reports that cast doubt on his leadership and the work activities of his wife, one-time billionaire Yelena Baturina.

Luzhkov also complained that he hadn’t been invited to the re-opening of the Bolshoi Theater last fall, despite overseeing its reconstruction at the personal request of Medvedev.

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