The King of Moscow

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Game over: On Sept. 28, President Medvedev fired Luzhkov with a statement on the Kremlin website saying that he had "lost the confidence of the Russian president." 


Sticking to his guns: Luzhkov attended a conference organized by the U.N. children's fund (UNICEF) in Moscow on September 27, 2010 and denied that he had any plans to step down as Moscow's mayor. 


Away from home: The announcement was made while Medvedev was traveling in China. Here, he launches the Chinese section of the first crude oil pipeline between Russia and China along with President Hu Jintao on Sept. 27.


Last tour? With elections looming in 2012 and Putin rumored to want his old job back, Medvedev's firing of Luzhkov has been seen as either a sign that the president is exercising more personal authority or that he was set up by Putin to make an unpopular decision.


Final Fight: For the past 19 years, Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov has reigned over the city as one of the few Russian politicians immune to political pressure from the Kremlin. But that may now be changing, as State-controlled media outlets have unleashed a broadside of criticism and corruption charges against Luzhkov, in what observers believe is the opening salvo in a bid to oust him. Is the Luzhkov era finally coming to an end?


True believer: Luzhkov (far right), with former Russian President Boris Yeltsin at a Christmas service in 1996. Yeltsin first appointed Luzhkov mayor in 1992.


Lockdown: Civilians arrested during an anti-crime raid carried out as part of Luzhkov's crackdown on mob activities in 1996.


New Sherriff: Luzhkov stands behind acting president Vladimir Putin on March 17, 2000. Over the next decade, Luzhkov managed to retain his influence under Putin, while other Yeltsin-era figures were pushed out.


Puppet politics: Puppet Putin and Luzhkov confer on the set of the the popular satricial television show, Kukly (Puppets) in 2000. The show was forced off the air by Kremlin pressure in 2002.


Party Man: A worker finishes an election poster showing Luzhkov and other figures from the ruling United Russia party in 2002.


Days of terror: Under Luzhkov's tenure, Moscow has frequently been the target of extremist attacks related to the ongoing violence in the Caucasus. These have included the apartment bombings of 1999, the 2002 Nord-Ost theater siege, and the 2010 metro bombings. Above, Luzhkov (center, striped shirt) and Russian interior minister Boris Gryzlov examine the site of a blast at a rock concert outside Moscow.


The good times: Luzhkov with Putin and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexi II at a ceremony for Moscow's 859th "Day of the City" on Sept. 2, 2006.


Playing host: Luzhkov watches a dance performance with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez on June 28, 2007.


Fighting words: Luzhkov and President Dmitry Medvedev visit a new metro station on Sept. 7, 2008. Speaking shortly after Russia's war with Georgia, Luzhkov told reporters that the defense mounted by Muscovites during World War II should serve as a warning to Russia's enemies.


In May 2009, Luzhkov earned worldwide condemnation by describing gay rights campaigners in Moscow as "satanic."


Holy days: Luzhkov prays with Putin, Medvedev, and first lady Svetlana Medvedeva at an Easter mass in 2010.


Coasting: Luzhkov and his wife Elena Baturina attent the 1,000 Mile Historic Race car show in Brescia, Italy on May 15.


A woman in central Moscow wears a mask to protect herself from smoke caused by out-of-control wildfires in August 2010. Luzhkov was criticized for refusing to cut short his Austrian vacation during a month when the mortality rate in Moscow nearly doubled.


Crackdown: Russian police offers arrest an opposition supporter during the "day of anger" protest rally against Luzhkov on Sept. 12.

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