A spokesman for Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, whose possible dismissal has lately been in the center of Russian media attention, rejected as 'absurd' statements that the Moscow head might not return to Russia after his vacation abroad.
"The Moscow mayor is on an agreed vacation in Austria and will return at the designated time to continue his work," Sergei Tsoi said in an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio station.
Earlier, leader of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhironovsky presumed that Luzhkov, who had taken a brief leave and left for abroad, might not return to Russia.
According to Tsoi, Luzhkov continues to work actively even abroad.
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.
The mayor was recently accused of massive corruption by federal TV channels. Some media reports quoted sources in the presidential staff and the ruling United Russia party as saying that the long-serving Moscow mayor may be fired no later then December.
"Are there real grounds for this? Have I lost Muscovites' support? No, I have not. Did Moscow's economy collapse? Are we removing snow with shovels? Tell me, if there are real grounds, I would not stay a second," Luzhkov said in an interview with Russia's REN TV channel.
The Moscow mayor's term expires in the summer of 2011. He said he believed he would not be asked to leave the office before.
"I think this will definitely not take place, because our leaders are conscious people," Luzhkov said.
Earlier this month, a documentary aired by the NTV TV channel said Luzhkov's wife Yelena Baturina, the world's third richest woman, had used her husband's position to amass her wealth, reported by Forbes as $2.9 billion.
The mayor reiterated by saying his wife was "the most talented person" who could have been even richer is she was not a mayor's wife.
A source in the Russian presidential administration said on Saturday that Luzhkov was provided a week-long vacation following his request.
Earlier on Saturday, Luzhkov told reporters he was planning to go to Austria to celebrate his 74th anniversary on September 21.
MOSCOW, September 19 (RIA Novosti)