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Luzhkov’s Henchmen in Limbo

Simon Shuster of TIME Magazine gets some good quotes on the firing of Mayor Yuri Luzhkov:

The gravity of this news for Russia’s political circle was perhaps best expressed by Sergei Mironov, head of a pro-Kremlin political party, who wrote a single line on his blog: “Sic transit gloria mundi” — Thus passes the glory of the world. Inside City Hall, the mood was no less apocalyptic, says councilman Andrei Klychkov, as Luzhkov hid in his office while his former deputy — now the acting mayor — presided over the council chamber. “The atmosphere was extremely nervous,” Klychkov, a communist, tells TIME. “Removing the mayor means putting all of his ministers and henchmen in limbo … and that is almost every official in Moscow.” (…)

“In the short term, this is a major success. The people of this country like a hero, the kind with pig-iron fists that he bangs against the table, and Medvedev has finally shown that he can play this role,” says Evgeny Gontmakher, a political analyst in Moscow. “It seems clear now that he is preparing for a second term.” This does not mean running against Putin, as the two have stated they will decide amongst themselves who will be the best candidate. But it will mean following through with a kind of political toughness that has not been Medvedev’s forte.

Of course there are some others who tend to think that Medvedev isn’t really winning a point here, but I tend to go with the general perception that this is an important moment in his presidency.  That said, leadership has to mean more than just firing people.