Writing in the Guardian, Alexey Kovalev has a great political postmortem of Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, which although insightful and entertaining, refrains from the ceaseless prognostications currently dominating the press. It’s a relief.
And now he’s finally gone. The Cap, The Beekeper, the “sturdy manager”, the bane of gay people and conservative architects, the mayor of Russia’s capital who outlived two presidents and defied the third. It is this defiance – and not his blatant disregard of common sense, architectural aesthetics or public opinion – that proved to be Luzhkov’s undoing and resulted in what many regard as President Medvedev’s first serious political decision. Conspiracy theorists and pundits are having a field day, generating page after page in an attempt to untangle the impossibly complicated knot of opposing forces between the Moscow administration and the Kremlin.
On the ground, Moscow greeted the news with cheers in blogs and smiles on the streets, sarcastic gifts of prison biscuits laid in front of the mayoral office (hinting at countless allegations of corruption that many hope will result in a sentence) and a record-breaking traffic jam, the dramatic crimson-streaked map of which has already been dubbed “Luzhkov’s Farewell”. (…) One doesn’t have to be a fortune-teller to predict that the ex-mayor will be reminded of each and every one of the allegations made against him while in the office.