Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 115

The Kremlin campaign against Moscow Major Yuri Luzhkov will also reportedly feature the publication of “kompromat” (compromising materials) against him. One account cites alleged intercepts of telephone conversations by Kremlin official Jokhan Pollyeva that a load of dirt on the Moscow mayor is about to go public (Versiya, June 15-21). Even without such revelations, there are already facts in the public domain which appear to bear out Sergei Kirienko’s charges that Moscow is both run as Luzhkov’s personal fiefdom and rife with corruption and mismanagement. Luzhkov’s opponents in the Moscow City Duma, for example, last week issued a report revealing that the Moscow mayor had ordered a credit worth more than US$5 million to be given to the Yaroslavl region to build a hockey arena. Yaroslavl received the credit just weeks after it hosted a conference of Luzhkov’s Fatherland (Moscow Times, June 15). Last week, Luzhkov submitted a draft budget to the city legislature asking for 320 million rubles (more than US$13 million) to replenish a nearly depleted mayoral discretionary fund once worth 2 billion rubles (more than US$80 million). Last month, the mayor’s office spent 20 million rubles (more than US$800,000) to renovate the former Cuban embassy building in Moscow, which will become the headquarters for Fatherland (Moscow Times, June 11).

It is by no means certain, however, that corruption allegations will succeed in neutralizing Luzhkov. For instance, despite the Kremlin’s reported warnings to Tatarstan President Mintimer Shamiev that his All Russia bloc not team up with Luzhkov, Shamiev last week said that four electoral blocs–his, Voice of Russia, Russia is Our Home and Fatherland–are “doomed” to unite prior to the December vote to oppose the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (Russian agencies, June 10). It is unlikely that regional leaders like Shamiev are unaware of Luzhkov’s business and administrative methods.

Meanwhile, one report has it that Fatherland is negotiating with the Communist Party toward forming a “broad anti-Yeltsin coalition,” which will also include such forces as Russia’s trade unions, which are capable of mobilizing much manpower and many voters. As for the threatened “kompromat” attack on Luzhkov, the paper quoted an anonymous Fatherland official as saying that Luzhkov is preparing “countermeasures” which will “make The Family regret their attack on him” (Versiya, June 15-21).