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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Luzhkov Blasts Kremlin For Firing Police Chief

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov hit back at the Kremlin on Monday for firing his police chief, in the latest salvo in a war of words ahead of Dec. 19 parliamentary elections.

Luzhkov said he would seek to overturn the firing of Police Chief Nikolai Kulikov, a move seen by commentators as an attempt to undermine Luzhkov's image as the man controlling the capital.

Luzhkov said the president can't fire top local police officials without the approval of the elected regional leader. Kulikov has already been replaced by Major General Viktor Shvidkin, Itar-Tass reported.

The president's health troubles mean that figures from his inner circle, such as Chief of Staff Andrei Voloshin and tycoon Boris Berezovsky, are really in charge of such matters, Luzhkov said. The decree firing Kulikov was signed not by Yeltsin, but by someone using a facsimile of Yeltsin's signature, he said.

"Such issues are being tackled not by the president, who was elected with the support of Moscow residents, but by Berezovskys, Voloshins and others we would never have elected," Interfax quoted him saying.

The attacks on Luzhkov and running mate Yevgeny Primakov are aimed at undermining the chances of their Fatherland-All Russia bloc in the Duma election and promoting a pro-Kremlin party, Unity, headed by Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Many of the attacks on Luzhkov have been conducted by Sergei Dorenko, an anchor on government-owned ORT television. On his Sunday program, Dorenko kept up the verbal assault despite losing a libel suit to Luzhkov on Friday. He sneered at the size of the award, 100,000 rubles ($3,731) from Dorenko and 50,000 from ORT, saying it was far less than the 450 million ($16.8 million) Luzhkov asked for, and that his true stature was therefore less than that of the one-inch-tall fairy tale character Dyumovochka.