During his press conference yesterday, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov continued his attack on the Federal Security Service (FSB), which–he charged–had illegally seized documents from Inteko, a company run by his wife, Yelena Baturina, as part of a larger investigation into the alleged illegal export of more than US$140 million from Russia. Luzhkov predicted that the investigation, which he called “a political campaign by the authorities against the relative or a political opponent or a political enemy” would bring “total disgrace” to the FSB. Also yesterday, Fatherland’s Georgy Boos claimed that the investigation into the business of Luzhkov’s wife “was the initiative of some bureaucrats in the Kremlin and the president’s entourage” but that Yeltsin was “misinformed” about what was going on. “The persecution of women, fighting with children and old people are activities not worthy of a man,” Boos said (Russian agencies, July21).
Regardless of the truth surrounding the scandal, the Luzhkov camp is clearly trying to get as much propaganda mileage out of it as possible by depicting the mayor and his family as innocent victims of Kremlin persecution. And even if the current investigation of Yelena Baturina’s company is without foundation, some other observers have noted some curious facts surrounding her company, which produces plastic ware–for instance, that it won a contract to provide 80,000 seats for Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium (Novaya gazeta, July 22-25).
Meanwhile, sources in the Prosecutor General’s Office said today that Deputy Prosecutor General Mikhail Katyshev has ordered an investigation to determine whether the decision to investigate Inteko had sufficient legal grounds. The firm was investigated as part of a case launched by the local FSB branch in the region of Vladimir. Luzhkov and Inteko officials say that the company had no links to any Vladimir businesses (Russian agencies, July 22).
RAPPROCHEMENT WITH NATO AND THE UNITED STATES.