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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Luzhkov Foes Launch Cyberspace Attack




Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who turned 63 on Monday, received an unwelcome birthday present this week - a frontal assault in cyberspace.


A web site sarcastically critical of the mayor appeared Thursday on the Internet. At first glance, the site, located at www.lujkov.ru, could be mistaken for his authorized webpage at www.luzhkov.ru.


But the bogus site ridicules Luzhkov and accuses him of turning Moscow into his own personal fiefdom, where his buddies and relatives rule the roost.


Playing on the familiar theme of the "family" - the legendary cabal of Kremlin insiders tied to first daughter Tatyana Dyachenko and business tycoon Boris Berezovsky - the site invites readers to get to know another family: Luzhkov's.


You have heard all about President Boris Yeltsin's family, the site says, so let's look at Mayor Luzhkov's family, which the site refers to as the "Moscow family."


"It is a fact of nature that Yeltsin isn't the only person with a family," the site reads. "If you look carefully, you will discover that practically every politician has one. The Moscow family is just like Yeltsin's - in some ways better, in some ways worse. We decided to acquaint you with a few members ... so you can get a look at the pretenders who are seeking to replace Yeltsin's family."


The site devotes a lot of space to discussing Luzhkov's wife, Yelena Baturina, whom it calls "a classic example of a modern businesswoman."


"She is not a housewife, but a dignified partner of her highly placed husband. Luzhkov has never earned any money ... Baturina works for the two of them." Baturina "is helpful to her husband not only with money, but also with city management," the site reads, pointing out that she runs and holds a 50 percent stake in the plastics company Inteko, which won a tender to furnish Luzhniki Stadium with plastic seats.


In addition to Baturina, the site examines the activities of other Luzhkov relatives and allies. The list of alleged nepotism and cronyism includes the following:


-Baturina's brother - and Luzhkov's brother-in-law - Viktor Baturin, a co-founder of Inteko.


- Vladimir Yevtushenkov, Baturina's brother-in-law, who runs AFK Sistema, a holding company with interests in media, real estate, retail sales, electronics, oil, insurance and telecommunications.


- Vladimir Resin, a member of Luzhkov's Cabinet who reportedly controls most of the city's construction business.


- Iosef Ordzhonkidze, who handles "external relations" for the Moscow city government. According to the site, he is also involved in shady hotel privatizations.


- Umar Dzhabrailov, whom the site refers to as "simply a lucky businessman." Dzhabrailov runs the oil company Danako, the advertising agency Tikhaya Gavan, the shopping complex Smolensky Passazh and the Radisson-Slavyanskaya Hotel. American businessman Paul Tatum, Dzhabrailov's partner in the hotel, was killed in 1996.


The site also features cartoons and photographs ridiculing the mayor. "This is an attempt at black PR. It is a provocation aimed at discrediting the mayor," said Mikhail Solomentsev, a spokesman for Luzhkov. Solomentsev added that the mayor's office is still trying to determine who is behind the site and would not speculate on its initiators other than to say "the material is very similar to the anti-Luzhkov publications in many Berezovsky-owned newspapers."


"There is material on the site that has been known for a long time and there is also a lot of incorrect information," Solomentsev said. "I wouldn't be surprised if the site disappeared soon," he added, an apparent indication that the mayor's office might be attempting to hack the site.