Russia 101026 Basic Political Developments

Report: Luzhkov Seeks U.K. Visa

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Report: Luzhkov Seeks U.K. Visa
26 October 2010

By Natalya Krainova

Yury Luzhkov has applied for a British visa but has no plans to abandon Russia after being ousted as Moscow's mayor last month amid a flurry of state television reports linking him and his wife to possible corruption, reported Monday.

Luzhkov wants to visit Britain with his billionaire wife, Yelena Baturina, but is not fleeing the country, the report said, citing a close friend, crooner and State Duma Deputy Iosif Kobzon.

Luzhkov, who has spent much of his time at his wife's chalet in Austria after being fired by President Dmitry Medvedev, applied for a visa at the British Embassy in Moscow because visa rules bar him from applying in Austria, an unidentified senior City Hall official told the web site.

Gennady Terebkov, a spokesman for Inteko, the construction giant owned by Baturina, called the report "another lie" amid the "information hysteria of recent weeks," apparently referring to the campaign against Baturina and Luzhkov on state television.

A British Embassy spokesman declined to comment on the visa report. “We do not comment on individual decisions, and I cannot even say if such an individual case exists,” spokesman James Barbour said.

Self-exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky told that "asking for political asylum in Britain" was "the only way" Luzhkov could "avoid imprisonment in Russia."

Berezovsky said he was willing to meet with Luzhkov.

The City Hall official also said Luzhkov and Baturina own a mansion in Britain — a claim that Baturina has denied in the past. Baturina and Britain's Sunday Times are embroiled in a court battle over the claim.

Inteko reiterated the denial in an e-mailed statement Monday, saying Baturina, Inteko and its subsidiaries do not own a mansion in Britain. Inteko said Baturina spent the day in her office in central Moscow.

Meanwhile, leading gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev said he has asked Britain's Foreign Office to deny a visa to Luzhkov, who banned gay pride parades as mayor, Interfax reported.

Repeated calls to Luzhkov's office at Moscow's International University, where the former mayor now works, and to the university's press office went unanswered Monday.

Kobzon refused to comment.

Meanwhile, Luzhkov failed to appear in court Monday as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by A Just Russia demanding that the results of October 2009 elections to the Moscow City Duma be annulled because Luzhkov purportedly used his position to secure United Russia's victory, Interfax reported.

Russian daily retracts corruption article on ex-Moscow mayor's wife
12:19 26/10/2010

MOSCOW, October 26 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian business daily issued on Tuesday a retraction to an article published on October 8, accusing Moscow ex-mayor's wife, Yelena Baturina, of receiving preferences in running her construction business under Luzhkov's mayoral tenure.

Vedomosti daily said the fact that Baturina "not always paid the city a percentage traditional for all developers" was incorrect as well as that the businesswoman's company, Inteko, "receded its obligations in a number of initial obligations for its own interest."

"The editorial staff of Vedomosti daily apologizes to Inteko, Ltd.," the newspaper's statement said.

Meanwhile, sacked Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov on Monday came into the spotlight after being noticed in a line for a visa at the British Embassy in Moscow, reportedly to start living in exile in London.

Russian Internet tabloid said Luzhkov had been standing in the line along with ordinary people to hand in his documents and have his fingerprints taken.

Baturina, Russia's richest woman, is reportedly already in Britain.

"Frankly speaking, it is not clear whether the ex-mayor will receive a visa," quoted Luzhkov's backers as saying. "He may face serious problems with his documents. When he was mayor, he set many British diplomats against himself over his vociferous anti-homosexual statements."

Luzhkov was fired by President Dmitry Medvedev in late September after an 18-year tenure.

Berezovsky pledges assistance to Luzhkov
Today at 10:45 | Interfax-Ukraine

Businessman Boris Berezovsky who resides in London, said he will be ready to give support to ex-Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov but does not want to cooperate with him.

"If he finds himself in a crunch, and if he or his wife lacks money to hire defense lawyers in search of asylum, I will be ready to help," Berezovsky told Interfax by telephone from London.

He said he was not ready to cooperate with ex-mayor of Moscow, but added that he would provide assistance if requested.

"Of course I will help, if he feels down. I am not ready to cooperate with him, but I will help, which does not mean cooperation," Berezovsky said.

Reports were circulated earlier, that Luzhkov had applied to the British embassy for an entry visa. It was also reported that his wife Yelena Baturina is in Britain already.

Meanwhile, Luzhkov's close friend singer Iosif Kobzon told Interfax that Luzhkov will not leave Russia under any circumstances, and he described speculation that Luzhkov may emigrate as "rubbish."

The press service of the Inteco company, led by Baturina, told Interfax on Monday that, "Yelena Baturina is now in Moscow."

Read more:

Russian Press at a Glance, Tuesday, October 26, 2010
09:02 26/10/2010

A brief look at what is in the Russian papers today


Russia wants to expedite the delineation of the continental shelf in the Arctic. The ownership of the large deposits of energy reserves is at stake. (Nezavisimaya Gazeta)

The Russian government may soon have a political department to "strengthen ties" with political parties, social movements, election bodies and other political organizations. (Nezavisimaya Gazeta)

Israel's new Ambassador to Russia says Tel Aviv and Moscow prioritize economic cooperation in bilateral relations (Kommersant)


The Russian car industry plans to go into partnerships with foreign carmakers to manufacture automotive components. (Rossiiskaya Gazeta)

The Russian government hopes that the second wave of privatization will encourage direct investment in the economy. (Vremya Novostei)

Moscow's Vnukovo airport will stop receiving aircraft whose noise levels exceed the existing standards starting in March 2011. (Vedomosti)

Sapsan is the only train operated by the Russian Railways company to have made a profit this year. The train, built for Russia by German engineering giant Siemens, covers the distance between Moscow and St. Petersburg in the record time of 4 hours and 45 minutes. (Kommersant)


Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov outlined ongoing reforms of the country's military education system. (Rossiiskaya Gazeta)

Russia may announce a tender on the construction of two helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy at Euronaval 2010, which opened on Monday in Paris. The French Mistral class ship is most likely to win the tender, experts believe. (Vedomosti)


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urges the government to draft a new law on the social welfare of elderly citizens. The Kremlin has not yet decided on changes to the retirement age. (Nazavisimaya Gazeta, Vremya Novostei)

The Russian opposition received permission to carry out a mass protest rally in downtown Moscow on October 31 (Vedomosti, Kommersant)


The Stockholm City Court has rejected Russia's appeal against the seizure of Russian state property in Sweden claimed by German businessman Franz Sedelmayer as compensation for business losses in 1990 when he had tried to open a company in St. Petersburg. (Kommersant)

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