LUZHKOV DENIES OFFER OF PRIME MINISTER POST.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 75
On April 17 Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov denounced a Russian newspaper report which suggested that President Boris Yeltsin had offered him the post of prime minister. In remarks to reporters, Luzhkov accused “Nezavisimaya gazeta” of having published the report with the purpose of sowing discord between himself and current Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov. He also said that he and Primakov continue to “maintain normal, trusting relations.” Despite his criticism of some of Primakov’s economic policies, Luzhkov characterized the Russian premier as “one of the best prime ministers in recent years.”
“Nezavisimaya gazeta” is believed to be controlled by Berezovsky and to be used as a tool by the financier and former CIS executive secretary in his political battle with Primakov. Luzhkov met in the Kremlin with Boris Yeltsin on April 13 (see the Monitor, April 14) and suggested after the meeting that his relations with the Russian president had warmed. That message generated immediate speculation that the Kremlin might be considering Luzhkov as a successor to the embattled Primakov. In his remarks yesterday, however, Luzhkov denied that the prime minister post had even been a subject of discussion during his meeting with Yeltsin. This “was not discussed or even hinted at,” Luzhkov said. “If such a discussion had taken place, I would not have accepted the post of the chairman of the Russian government.” Luzhkov has reportedly initiated libel proceedings against “Nezavisimaya gazeta” (Russian agencies, April 17, 18).
PRIMAKOV, ZEMAN SEEK TO REVIVE RUSSIAN-CZECH RELATIONS.