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Luzkhov’s Side

Did you know that former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzkhov was a founding member of United Russia back in 1999?  I didn’t either – but he’s not exactly their biggest fan now.  Marking the one-year anniversary of Sergei Sobyanin’s role as his successor, Luzkhov speaks to RFE/RL about his dismissal, exorcising a few ghosts in the process.

Like him or loathe him (he has been the subject of much criticism due to various accusations, see his failure to return from holiday last summer when Moscow filled with smoke from peat bog fires burning on the city’s outskirts, and suspicions about his professional ties to his wife’s company), among a few choice insults for United Russia, he makes a particularly interesting point about the cultural memory of fear:

[…] the situation in the country today is bad. We don’t have discussion. We don’t have consultations. Such declarations by the leaders of the sort that anyone who disagrees and expresses their opinion should resign remind me of the beginning of 1937. And in 1937, the nation was terrified right down to its genes. And that fear doesn’t go away. And it is unacceptable for the leadership of the country to intensify that fear with such declarations.

The full piece, in which he also describes himself as a ‘white crow’ in the early days of United Russia, is here.