Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov sought to deflect speculation about his presidential ambitions yesterday when he told interviewers that he intends to run for re-election as mayor in 2000. The Moscow election is due to take place during the summer of 2000, at the same time as the Russian presidential election. Luzhkov said he entirely agreed with American financier George Soros’s criticism of Anatoly Chubais’s privatization campaign, and he rebuked Russian financier Boris Berezovsky for springing to the defense of Chubais. (For details of Soros’s attack, see the Monitor, January 12)
Berezovsky’s defense of Chubais raised many eyebrows, since the two men are bitter political opponents, but Luzhkov said there was nothing surprising about it. Berezovsky was a prime beneficiary of Chubais’s "criminal privatization," said Luzhkov, who also quoted the Russian proverb, "crows don’t peck out one another’s eyes." (NTV, January 15) Commenting on his own political views, Luzhkov said he favors the left-oriented Movement for a New Socialism, whose founding congress he attended at the beginning of December. There was speculation at that time that Luzhkov’s support could stimulate the creation of a left-center bloc, a space currently vacant on the Russian political spectrum. (Kommersant-daily, December 9, 1997) Despite his repeated denials, few people doubt that Luzhkov will run for president in 2000.
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