A year after being unceremoniously dumped as Moscow mayor, Yuri Luzhkov and his billionaire wife are back in the limelight, attacking the president and posing a problem for the Kremlin ahead of elections next month.
My day started with a bang — or rather, a right hook and a left-right jab combination. A friend in Moscow rang me excitedly, revealing my father had punched someone live on Russian television. I don’t condone violence, but I couldn’t help but find the video clip amusing. Eventually, I got through to my father. He explained that Sergei Polonsky, a corrupt property developer who has long associated with the yet more reprehensible former mayor of Moscow Sergei Luzhkov, was being rude about ordinary Russians and, also, threatening him. Russian people have a fondness for robust characters — hence Vladimir Putin’s occasional displays of manliness. So, rather than causing a scandal, my father instantly obtained cult hero status. I must admit I was rather proud of him.
When Russia’s richest woman, Yelena Baturina, was struggling to pay down more than $870m in debt during last year’s economic crisis, the wife of the former Moscow mayor managed to extricate her construction empire with a surprising deal.
Poor Bernie Madoff! He could have declared himself a dissident in US, escape to Rublyovka and perform on "Russia Today" TV.


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