The sparring continues between Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and some of his newly minted opponents–chiefly former Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko. Over the weekend, Kirienko suggested in the strongest terms to date that he will be the candidate of his movement New Force (Novaya Sila) to take on Luzhkov in the next mayoral election. Kirienko has been increasingly critical of Luzhkov and his style of administration, saying over the weekend that “in Moscow it’s impossible to resolve any small issue without a bribe.” Luzhkov over the weekend responded to Kirienko’s plans to run for Moscow mayor: “Let him take part in the elections. As a rival he is decidedly advantageous to me: He is an extremely weak candidate” (Russian agencies, June 7).
While there is little chance that Kirienko could beat Luzhkov, he is reportedly being backed–or even pushed–by the Kremlin in his anti-Luzhkov efforts and could serve as a mouthpiece for kompromat (compromising materials), against Luzhkov. Indeed, one generally pro-Luzhkov newspaper ran a long article today, the gist of which was that Luzhkov could be facing real danger from the Kremlin’s reported campaign to undermine him. The account said that anti-Luzhkov kompromat is inevitable and imminent, and that the Kremlin has picked Kirienko to play the role of “accuser.” One piece of kompromat may apparently concern one of Luzhkov’s sons–though neither which son nor the nature of the allegations were specified in the article.
…AS MAYOR LOOKS FOR ALLIES.