Luzhkov appears in the news again today, this time because he has applied for residency in Latvia. To that end, he has invested some $200,000 in local banks and owns some property.
Also, it seems he can’t live in Russia any more. Though I’m sure he’d tell you it’s because his daughters were being physically threatened, or because he trying to start a democratic movement — a movement completely relegated to public statements — but really it’s because these are the rules of the game he helped to establish in the last decade: Loot and pillage while the going’s good, then get the fuck out as soon as it’s not. It’s a zero-sum game, and Luzhkov was always its expert (founding) player. This is why the children of its top players live abroad, and why there are residences and documents ready in case one should lose the game. And if anyone doubts that Russia’s top political players are not building a society as much as they are stripping it of its copper wiring, you have only to look at Luzhkov’s example. As soon as he’s out of power, he leaves the city he’s allegedly done so much for.
As for the Latvians, they are none too excited about the prospect of Yuri Mikhailovich settling down among them. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that, at a protest outside the Latvian embassy in Moscow in 1998, Luzhkov compared the Latvian authorities to the regime of Pol Pot. Oops!
Said Latvian Foreign Minister Linda Murniece: “Most likely, he will not get” the residency.