Oleg Grishenko to the right, Arkady Burulin — leader of Saratov gay community — to the left.
Yesterday President Medvedev dismissed almighty Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov. A mere year ago this would have seemed impossible. Yuri Mikhaylovich has lost his sense of harmony and his wish to play in the same league as the President and the Prime Minister finally let him down. Almost 18-year experience of governing the city, populated by 12 million people, with a budget of more than $30 billion, his own $4 billion fortune, more than just a mature age (74 years) and his unbelievable self-assurance have brought that heavy-weight politico to the logical final of his career.
Having commented on the matter of Luzhkov’s dismissal, ex-Prime Minister and today’s popular oppositionist Boris Nemtsov tried to provoke Dmitry Medvedev to aggravate the Luzhkov-related crisis. Nemtsov, who was struggling against Luzhkov for quite a time now, called for President to finish his political opponent off by instituting criminal lawsuits due to alleged facts of corruption and the abuses of power at Moscow mayor’s office. Otherwise — according to Nemtsov’s opinion — Luzhkov may pose a serious threat to the power tandem at the coming State Duma elections in 2011 and at the Presidential elections in 2012 as well. I’m not a member of Luzhkov’s fan-club either, but that rather looks like dancing the jig at the enemy’s grave.
It seems that there are still quite a lot of politicians in that weird Russian democracy, whose fate in the nearest future may be the same as the fate of Moscow mayor. For example, Saratov mayor Oleg Grishenko did not only steal millions of rubles from the city treasury — as if he was trying to follow the example of his Moscow colleague (the scale, though, is surely incomparable). Unlike the former capital governor —who was known as an outstanding homophobe — he openly supports gay community of Saratov. Such excessive tolerance is not very welcome in Russia. Had Mr. Grishenko only been stealing, he might have kept his post (given the background of today’s Russia, honest mayor is a rara avis, you see). But a mayor who supports gays — is a little bit over the top.