Popov, Gavriil Kharitonovich

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(b. 1936), economist and democratic reformer; mayor of Moscow.

Gavriil Popov was born and educated in Moscow. While studying at Moscow State University (MGU), he headed the Komsomol organization. He joined the economics faculty at MGU in 1959, eventually becoming dean in 1977. In his academic career, Popov authored numerous articles and books focusing on economic management and was editor of the Academy journal Voprosi Ekonomiki (Economic Questions ) from 1988 to 1991.

Popov moved from economic research and advising to political activism, consulting with government on management reforms starting in the mid-1960s. The apex of his political career occurred during the late 1980s and early 1990s. After joining the Congress of People's Deputies in 1989, Popov founded and co-chaired the Inter-Regional Deputies' Group (MDG) with Boris Yeltsin, Yury Afanasiev, and Andrei Sakharov. The MDG advocated democratic reforms; Popov adopted a pragmatic stance relative to other leaders in the group. In March 1990, reformers won control of the Moscow City Council, and Popov was elected chairman. He resigned from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in July 1990.

In June 1991, Popov became the first popularly elected mayor of Moscow, with Yuri Luzhkov as his vice-mayor. After opposing the August coup attempt, he pursued reforms such as privatization of housing and retail establishments. He resigned from the post of mayor in June 1992, and subsequently formed electorally unsuccessful organizations. His Russian Movement for Democratic Reforms (RDDR) did not win enough votes to gain party-list seats in the 1993 Duma elections. He later joined with other politicians to form the Social Democrats, a party that participated in the 1995 and 1999 elections and likewise failed to gain seats. Popov founded Moscow International University and became its president. He continues to publish commentaries on public policy issues.

See also: inter-regional deputies' group; moscow


Colton, Timothy J. (1996). Moscow: Governing the Socialist Metropolis. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press.

Erik S. Herron