Publisher Picks Up Opposition Report on Luzhkov

The cover of "Luzhkov. Results." Source: Ozon.ruIt’s the first time in 18 years that Moscow has had a chance to see what life is like without Yury Luzhkov as mayor. And indeed, in just two weeks, the city has already undergone some notable developments: the first gay pride rally was granted government sanction, one of Luzhkov’s top deputies was effectively fired and charged with corruption, and there’s even talk of ridding the Moscow River of the notoriously outrageous monument to Peter the Great build by the ex-mayor’s close friend, sculptor Zurab Tsereteli.

At the same time, many members of the Russian opposition have expressed disappointment that the city has chosen to continue Luzhkov’s tradition of banning anti-government protests. On September 30, the mayor’s office turned down an application from opposition organizers to hold another Day of Anger rally on October 12. The rally went ahead today regardless, and, as happens in nearly every opposition demonstration that the Moscow authorities choose to ban, police violently cracked down on the protesters, detaining more than 30 according to a source in city law enforcement.

But along with decisions handed down by the authorities, another development on Tuesday brought some good news for the Russian opposition: Eksmo, one of the country’s two largest publishing houses, has released a printed version of “Luzhkov. Results,” a report written by Solidarity co-leaders Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov that scathingly criticizes the former mayor. While the document was the basis of a libel suit by Luzhkov against Nemtsov less than a year ago, it’s now being published in an edition of 20,000 hardback copies at 105 rubles (about $3.50) apiece. will even ship copies abroad, for those able to navigate the Russian-only website.

Nemtsov explained how the publishing deal was reached:

“Immediately after Luzhkov’s dismissal, V. Milov and I were approached by the Eksmo publishing house with an unexpected proposal – to commercially publish ‘Luzhkov. Results.’ I explained to the guys from the publishing house that we’ve handed out 400 thousand ‘Luzhkov. Results’ at metro stations in Moscow over the past year.

However, this didn’t frighten the publishing house, and we negotiated a contract. And even made provisions for a symbolic honorarium.”

The book will include the entire text of the original report, plus updated information about events surrounding the mayor’s dismissal.

A description of the book by Eksmo reads: “A book by Boris Nemtsov – the first and, as of yet, the only independent investigation of the activities of Luzhkov for the 17 years of his rule.”

In the same spirit of ‘Luzhkov. Results,’ Nemtsov and Milov released ‘Putin. 10 Years. Results’ this past June. One million copies of the report (excluding samizdat copies) have been published, and the authors have been traveling throughout Russia since its release to distribute them.

“I asked if Eksmo would publish ‘Putin. Results,’ which we’re distributing all over the country for free,” Nemtsov said, following the news about the Luzhkov book. “They’re not yet ready for that.”