Rampant corruption among reasons for firing Luzhkov, presidential administration says

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev fired Yury Luzhkov from his post as Moscow mayor not only due to his inefficient management but also because of the appalling level of corruption in the capital, Sergei Naryshkin, the head of presidential administration, said on Wednesday.

Medvedev signed the decree ordering Luzhkov’s dismissal about one year ago, citing “loss of confidence.”

Luzhkov later wrote a letter to Medvedev to say his dismissal was punishment for a 2008 proposal to reinstate direct gubernatorial elections and his support for a highway through the Khimki forest on the outskirts of Moscow. Luzhkov also resigned from the ruling United Russia party, which he had co-founded.

There were two reasons behind the decision to dismiss Luzhkov, Naryshkin said. “Firstly, this was Luzkov’s extremely inefficient city management and secondly, the horrible level of corruption.”

On October 24 Russian investigators summoned Luzhkov for questioning over an inquiry concerning a 13-billion ruble ($444 million) bank loan from Bank of Moscow, which was given to companies linked to Luzhkov’s property developer wife Elena Baturina.

Luzhkov linked the summons to his recent interview with Radio Liberty in which he criticized Russia’s leadership and ruling United Russia party.

The ex-mayor said he was not in Russia. “I am at an international medical conference abroad. When I return to Moscow I will, as a law-abiding citizen, make contact with the investigators,” he added.

Recently, Medvedev ordered a probe into the “illegal” sale of Moscow land intended for foreign embassies to subsidiaries of a company belonging to Baturina.


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