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Moscow mayor rejects criticism over absence during smog

© RIA Novosti . Ilya Pitalev / Go to the photo bankMoscow's Mayor Yuri Luzhkov
Moscow's Mayor Yuri Luzhkov - Sputnik International
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Moscow's Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said on Tuesday that he had remained in control of the situation in the capital as it was shrouded in toxic smog this August, despite being on vacation

Moscow's Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said on Tuesday that he had remained in control of the situation in the capital as it was shrouded in toxic smog this August, despite being on vacation.

Pollution levels rocketed in the city during two weeks of almost constant smog and an unprecedented heat wave, with experts warning people to stay inside and keep their windows closed.

"There are those who wish to criticize the mayor, who spent a short six days on holiday," Luzhkov, 74, told a meeting of the Moscow branch of the United Russia party.

"The city functioned, and I can't accuse a single one of my deputies of bad work," he added.

The mayor said he had signed an order to allocate money from the city's reserve funds to send pensioners and disabled people to Russian and foreign health resorts.

Luzhkov, who has been in office since 1992, is allegedly at odds with President Dmitry Medvedev. Their conflict is thought to have its roots in a September article by Luzhkov in the Rossiiskaya Gazeta government daily that hinted at criticism of the Medvedev-Putin tandem.

On Friday, several state-run TV channels accused the mayor and his wife, powerful businesswoman Yelena Baturina, of massive corruption. They also hit out at him over his absence during the worst of the smog. Luzhkov and wife have said they will take the channels to court over the claims.

MOSCOW, September 14 (RIA Novosti) 

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