Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Luzhkov Postpones May Local Elections

Moving to consolidate his nearly unchecked power in city government, Mayor Yury Luzhkov has canceled May elections to neighborhood legislatures and will hold an autumn ballot to weak advisory councils instead, according to city officials.

A presidential decree distributed Friday gave Moscow permission to put off elections to councils one level below the City Duma that President Boris Yeltsin ordered in December, Anatoly Petrov, Luzhkov's top election official, said Monday.

Such councils would have been entitled under the constitution to levy taxes,and draw up budgets, threatening city government's tight control in those areas, Petrov said.

This apparently alarmed both Luzhkov officials and City Duma members, who feared a return to the power struggle between executive and legislative that gripped Moscow last year.

Under the redundant Soviet legislative system, Moscow teemed with more than 5,000 deputies in 34 councils, the 500-member Moscow City Council and a 150-person legislature in each of 33 municipal regions. Originally mere puppet councils, they became fractious after the Soviet Union's fall, thwarting many Luzhkov policies.

Instead, this fall, Moscow will elect five- to seven- member advisory councils in each of the 134 districts, to be headed by Luzhkov-appointed district chiefs and handle neighborhood issues such as kindergartens, trash collection and playgrounds, Petrov said. They will have no veto power.