Moscow Mayor Luzhkov Loses Feud With President Medvedev

A political drama that has gripped Russia for weeks came to an abrupt end today when President Medvedev fired the mayor of Moscow, who was resisting scathing attacks to get him to resign. The president dismissed Yury Luzhkov, the mayor of Moscow for most of the past two decades, for a "loss of confidence." The firing followed a bruising campaign by the state-run media that accused Luzhkov of giving preference to his beloved bees over his constituents and helping his wife become the only female billionaire in Russia. "It is difficult to imagine a situation in which a governor and the president of Russia as the top official would continue working together, if the president loses confidence in the head of the region," Medvedev told reporters during a trip to Shanghai. The Luzhkov drama has dominated the headlines in Russia since early September when he criticized Medvedev for suspending the controversial construction of a highway through a forest north of Moscow. An anonymous Kremlin source told the Russian media that Luzhkov, mayor since 1992, was trying to divide the ruling "tandem" of Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.