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MOSCOW — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s decision to fire Moscow’s long-entrenched mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, is the most decisive move of his presidency. Is it really part of his drive to modernize Russia, or part of an emerging power play with Moscow’s real strong man, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin?

Anatoly Chubais, the father of Russian privatization in the 1990s and the current head of the country’s nano-technology conglomerate RosNano, recently admitted that the prospects for political modernization in Russia are dim.

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