Kremlin blasts Moscow’s ex-mayor over 'unprecedented corruption'

Yuri Luzhkov (AFP Photo / Alexander Nemenov)
The head of the Russian presidential administration has told the press that the ex-mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, was sacked one year ago due to “over-the-top corruption levels.”

­Sergey Naryshkin said on Wednesday that President Dmitry Medvedev had two reasons for dismissing Yuri Luzhkov from the mayor’s post. “These were, first of all, extremely ineffective city management, and second, the over-the-top level of corruption that was tolerated by Luzhkov and his entourage,” the official said.

Naryshkin spoke out after the former mayor suggested in a media interview that his dismissal was due to many people “who have already sawn in parts a lot of things in Russia” showing interest in Moscow property. 

Earlier this week, Russian police summoned Yuri Luzhkov for questioning as a witness in a $425 million fraud case involving the Bank of Moscow and the Moscow city budget. Luzhkov is currently in Austria but he said he would answer police questions on his return. 

Also this week, President Medvedev charged the government and the current Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin with the task of exposing the city officials who had illegally redesignated land plots earmarked for the construction of embassies. One such plot ended up in the hands of Luzhkov’s wife and Russia’s richest woman, Yelena Baturina. Baturina claims that she owns the real estate legally and has accused the federal authorities of an attempt to strip her of property which is rightfully hers.