Russian president Boris Yeltsin met with Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkovon June 3 and told him to stop quarreling with the government.Yeltsin assured Luzhkov that, contrary to the latter’s allegations,the federal government cares about Moscow and will provide thecapital with "all possible assistance."
Luzhkov launched a sustained campaign of criticism of the governmentjust over a month ago. On April 28 he accused Anatoly Chubais,Boris Berezovsky, and Yegor Gaidar of pandering to "alieninfluences" in opposing Russia’s union with Belarus. On May1 Luzhkov took part in an anti-government rally organized by theRussian trade unions. Later that same week he criticized the government’sprivatization plans and ridiculed its anti-corruption campaign.Following a May 7 audience with Yeltsin, Luzhkov announced thatthe president had given Moscow a special dispensation to ignoreBoris Nemtsov’s housing reforms and to follow its own special"Moscow model." Within days, the President’s press serviceannounced that Yeltsin had, in fact, rejected Luzhkov’s housingproposals. On May 8, former Security Council secretary AleksandrLebed told journalists he was "prepared to form a politicalalliance with Moscow mayor Luzhkov in a future presidential election."Last week, Luzhkov lashed out at the government, complaining thatit was unwilling to finance festivities marking the 850th anniversaryof the Russian capital and calling the government’s market reforms"suffocating." (Itar-Tass, June 3)
Speculation in Moscow holds that Luzhkov is ready to burn hisbridges with the president and the government because a numberof their pet policies (such as housing reform and the abolitionof authorized banks) threaten to harm Moscow’s status vis-a-visthe rest of the country. (Kommersant-daily, May 29)
Russian Government Revises Growth Projection.