Main | Tuesday, September 28, 2010

RUSSIA: Moscow's Anti-Gay Mayor Fired By President Dmitri Medvedev

Yesterday the president of Russia fired Moscow's Mayor Yuri Luhzkov, who has described gays as "satanic," blocked gay pride parades, and has been the subject of numerous protests by LGBT activists, including one just a few days ago. The firing, however, had nothing to do with Luhzkov's bigotry.
Officially, the Kremlin attributed Mr. Medvedev’s decision to his “loss of trust” in Mr. Luzhkov. But the two men had been feuding, and Mr. Luzhkov had seemed in recent weeks to be trying to create a rift between Mr. Medvedev and his mentor, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, who is widely considered the country’s pre-eminent leader. The conflict turned into a highly unusual spectacle because such defiance of the country’s leadership by a senior official rarely occurs in public. Mr. Luzhkov had been under pressure to resign, but on Monday, declared that he would not. It appeared that Mr. Medvedev then had to move to avoid undercutting his own standing. Mr. Medvedev, who was elected in 2008 and has championed policies to modernize the country, has been clearing away a generation of a older regional leaders who have long clung to power in Russia. The dismissal of Mr. Luzhkov is the most pronounced step yet in this campaign.
Moscow's deputy mayor has been temporarily appointed to Luzhkov's position while the president considers a replacement. We can only hope whoever is chosen isn't worse.

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