Yuri Mikhailovich Luzhkov
Mayor of Moscow
Yuri Luzhkov has been the mayor of Moscow since 1992 and is claimed to wield unprecedented power over the capital city's government.
Yuri Mikhailovich Luzhkov was born Sep 21, 1936 in Moscow and was educated at the Gubkin Institute of Oil and Gas. He was a researcher at the Research Institute of Plastic Materials during 1958-64 and as an agrochemist headed the Ministry of Chemical Industry from 1964 to 1987. He joined the Moscow city council as a deputy chairperson in 1987, rising to head chair in 1990 and to the position of vice mayor from 1991 to 1992, when he became the mayor and head of city government.
Luzhkov is a popular mayor with a proven talent for getting things done. He has filled potholes, restored buildings and churches, and is an effective administrator. He has committed $300 million of the city's depleted coffers to the restoration of a cathedral razed by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. He supported Yeltsin during the August 1991 communist coup attempt and during the 1993 uprising at the Russian White House, after which a grateful Yeltsin granted him broad powers outside of federal control that exempted Moscow city from Russia's privatization program.
In mid-1995 Luzhkov was involved in a power struggle with the equally secretive Yeltsin over control of Moscow city government. Yeltsin had peremptorily fired the city prosecutor and chief of police after the gangland killing of a leading newscaster and television executive, Vladislav Listyev, and Luzhkov angrily refused to approve their dismissals, at one point threatening to resign as mayor. He was overwhelmingly reelected mayor in June 1996 elections.