The week he spent in Austria was to celebrate his 74th birthday, the thinking went, and to mull over the terms — as yet unknown to the unwashed masses — of his now completely certain ouster. An ouster the Kremlin apparently hoped would be civilized, reasonable.
Instead, Luzhkov said, “amahfangu!” (See above.)
Returning to the city, he announced that the rumors about his upcoming resignation to be “delirium” and said that he’d be starting work unusually early on Monday, at 8 a.m.
The reason was the opening of the UNESCO conference on the banks of the Moscow River, and Luzhkov did indeed arrive. According to people who were there, he looked stressed and kept looking out into the far-to-middle distance.
He also told Interfax that he would not be resigning. Like, ever. “I do not plan to resign of my own volition,” he said.
Given the fact that, by this point , Luzhkov is dead in the water, dead on arrival, dead, dead, dead politically, this insistence on digging in his heels and publicly resisting — though he’s probably actively negotiating the terms behind the scenes — reminds me of this bit of beautiful futility. It is, perhaps, a prognosis for this week’s events.
And so Moscow waits for the inevitable resignation, or, at worst, firing. So does Luzhkov. Asked for his impressions of his day today, he said, “It’s begun.”
Then he ducked out of the forum, skipping out on the planned press conference.