Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Yuri Mikhailovich Luzhkov
From 1953 to 1958, Luzhkov studied at the Gubkin Moscow Petrochemical & Gas Industry Institute . From 1958 until 1964, he worked as a scientific researcher in the Moscow Scientific Research Institute of Plastics . He joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1968. For the next 20 years he worked on automation initiatives in various sectors of the chemical industry (1964-1971: management automation department chief, State Chemistry Committee; 1971-1974: automated management systems department chief, Chemical Industry Ministry of the Soviet Union; 1974-1980: CEO, Experimental Design Office of Automation, Chemical Industry Ministry of the Soviet Union; 1980-1986: CEO, Scientific-Industrial Association "Petrochemautomation".)
He was first appointed as a member of the Moscow city council (Mossovet) in 1977, and in 1987 transferred to the executive branch of the Moscow city government (Mosgorispolkom). He held different positions, usually one level below the Mayor. In 1991, Gavriil Popov was elected Mayor of Moscow in the first open free elections. However, Popov was not an experienced administrator, but rather an university professor whose popularity stemmed from his pro-democracy speeches and articles. Popov was overwhelmed by the responsibilities of office and resigned in June 1992. Luzhkov, who held the position of Chairman of the Moscow city government at the time, was appointed Mayor by Boris Yeltsin on June 6, 1992. Luzhkov proved more skilled at managing the city than Popov, which earned him wide popular support among Muscovites. He was first elected as Mayor on June 16, 1996 (winning 95% of the vote), and re-elected on December 19, 1999 (69.9% of the votes) and again on December 7, 2003 (75% of the votes).
In 1998, as Boris Yeltsin's political troubles grew, Luzhkov formed his own national political faction, Otechestvo (Fatherland), to serve as his base for the upcoming presidential election. Otechestvo had the support of many powerful regional politicians, and its apparent supremacy was sealed when it merged with another party, Vsya Rossiya (All Russia) to form Otechestvo-Vsya Rossiya . Luzhkov and his new ally, former prime minister Yevgeniy Primakov, seemed likely to displace both Yeltsin and his inner circle in the parliamentary and presidential elections due to be held in late 1999 and mid-2000, respectively.
However, Luzhkov's fortunes turned when Boris Yeltsin appointed Vladimir Putin as Chairman of the Russian Government (predsedatel', or prime minister) in August 1999. While virtually an unknown when first appointed, Putin rapidly gained popular support thanks to a hard-line law and order image and the backing of powerful state-owned and state-allied media and economic interests. The hard-fought autumn 1999 Duma campaign inflicted a fatal blow against his larger political ambitions. So battered was Luzhkov's political capital that Otechestvo-Vsya Rossiya ended up endorsing Putin in the 2000 presidential elections, which he won easily. After this crushing defeat, Luzhkov became less active in federal politics.
In the Soviet Union every citizen required permission to settle in certain urban areas, such as Moscow, as the government wanted to limit the inflow into the big cities. The post-Soviet Russian constitution granted every Russian citizen freedom of movement. However, Luzhkov has restricted theis right by maintaining an unconstitutional registration process. His rationale has been that Moscow's city infrastructure could not handle a rapidly growing population. Under Luzhkov's registration regime, unregistered residents have trouble getting legal employment and are regularly harassed by the police. Some of the most blatant limitations were removed by the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court after a long fight with Luzhkov's lawyers, making the registration process somewhat simpler. Now a person can spend 90 days in Moscow without any registration.
Luzhkov was frequently accused of being too close to major businessmen, including billionaires Vladimir Gusinsky and Vladimir Yevtushenkov , and for conducting allegedly suspicious privatization deals for formerly city-owned property. Russian and foreign press have claimed that Mr. Luzhkov's wife Yelena Baturina is a billionaire, and have noted that the construction and furniture companies she owns receive a large number of lucrative municipal contracts. However, Luzhkov has never been charged with any corruption-related offence.
Luzhkov married his first wife, Marina Bashilova, in 1958, and had two sons with her, Mikhail and Aleksandr. Beshilova has died from liver cancer in 1989. He married his second wife, Yelena Baturina in 1991, they have two daughters, Alyona (born 1992) and Olga (born 1994). Luzhkov frequently appears in public at different festivals and celebrations, and is an enthusiastic promoter of the city. Plays public soccer games against other politicians. His hobbies include tennis and apiary. Luzhkov is often seen wearing a trademark leather cap.
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