Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov took a week-long vacation. Luzhkov went to Austria, where he is going to celebrate his 74th birthday with his family. Russian experts say that Luzhkov went on a leave to make a decision about the end of his career in politics. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Liberal and Democratic Party of Russia, believes that Luzhkov went out of Russia to never come back.
Luzhkov coordinated his vacation with the Kremlin administration. As soon as the news about the holiday plans of the troubled Moscow mayor were made public, many supposed that Luzhkov would step down afterwards. Scientists of politics say that the things, which have recently been happening to Luzhkov, were like a signal to the "local Moscow elite" about the inevitability of transit of power in the city.
Konstantin Simonov, the head of the National Energy Security Fund, believes that Yuri Luzhkov has recognized his defeat. Most likely, the expert believes, the Moscow mayor will step down. The fact that Luzhkov went on vacation may also mean that the authorities have not decided yet who is going to replace Mr. Luzhkov.
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Deputy director of Social Systems think tank Dmitry Badovsky said in his interview with Politonline.ru website that Luzhkov goes on vacation every year at the end of September.
"As a matter of fact, he has a tradition of going on a holiday near his birth date, September 21st, to go out of Moscow to celebrate. It happens every year," the specialist said. "This year, however, he has coordinated his vacation with the presidential administration, which means that it's not just a birthday leave. He probably has taken a time off to think over the state of affairs and make a decision," the scientist of politics said.
Dmitry Badovsky believes that the current situation can not develop further on. "On the one hand, the president has a right to sign a decree to dismiss a governor or a mayor any time. One the other hand, the Russian authorities prefer governors and mayors step down voluntarily. Thus, this week is a time out, which the Kremlin provided to Luzhkov, to give him an opportunity to think and perhaps agree to leave on his own will in order to avoid tougher scenarios which no one is interested in," Badovsky said.
Leonid Polyakov, a scientist of politics with the Higher School of Economics, shares a similar point of view.
"To my mind, the decision of the Moscow mayor to coordinate his vacation with the presidential administration testifies to the fact that Yuri Mikhailovich Luzhkov has either made the decision or is ready to make it. He left to Austria to have it all settled quietly, not in the middle of this major scandal that we have been witnessing lately in the media," the specialist said.
According to Mr. Polyakov, the Russian administration and the whole political class of Russia expects Luzhkov to step down.
"It is obvious that the delay with the imminent dismissal of the mayor, or, to be more precise, his voluntary termination of service, destabilizes the situation not only in Moscow, but in Russia on the whole," Leonid Polyakov told NewsInfo.
"I believe that during the upcoming ten days we will find out that Yuri Luzhkov has made the right decision - to retire honorably and ahead of schedule," Polyakov added.
LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky sticks to a different point of view. He believes that Luzhkov is not coming back to Russia.
"I think that he [Luzhkov] has left for good," Zhirinovsky told RIA Novosti news agency. The LDPR leader reiterated that he would be ready to replace Luzhkov on his position if he receives such an offer from the authorities, which is highly unlikely.