President Dmitry Medvedev has chosen Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Sobyanin as the next mayor of the Russian capital and described him as an “experienced manager” capable of solving the city’s problems.
“I have decided to offer your candidacy to the Moscow City Duma for investing you with the authorities of Moscow mayor,” Medvedev told Sobyanin at a meeting at the presidential residence in Gorki, outside Moscow, on Friday.
The deputies of the city’s parliament may vote on Sobyanin’s candidacy on Monday, according to sources in the city’s Duma. The city parliament says it will approve Sergey Sobyanin for the post. By law the Duma has ten days to consider a candidacy submitted by the president. It has the right to reject the president’s nominee and ask for an alternative candidate.
“Moscow is a special city, for all those who live here, for Muscovites, for those who come to the capital,” Medvedev said at the meeting. “It is a very big megapolis, an administrative center of the whole country, a city that has seen rapid development in recent years.”
“Moscow has a lot of advantages and problems caused by overpopulation, many unsolved social problems, although very much has been done in this area,” Medvedev said. “The new mayor should first of all concentrate on solving social tasks.”
The president referred to the problem of improving the living standards of Muscovites, although he noted that they are “not bad” compared to Russia’s other regions.
Medvedev described Sobyanin as an experienced manager who has the qualities needed to become Moscow’s mayor. The main tasks, along with social issues, are the fight against corruption and traffic jams, the president said.
The city’s capital status makes it difficult to drive in Moscow, Medvedev said.
“If there is a will there is a way to solve this problem or, at least, to improve the traffic situation in Moscow,” he was quoted as saying by Itar Tass.
The president also stressed that little has been done so far to suppress corruption in the city. The economic life in the capital should be “more open, more competitive and more law abiding,” he stated.
At a meeting with the president, Sergey Sobyanin said that he has lived in Moscow for the past five years and knows the city's biggest issues: social security, transport and traffic jams. “The integration of federal programs and tackling corruption will become the priority for Moscow's authorities. This will be easier to achieve through cooperation with the country's central authorities,” he added.
According to Dmitry Polikanov, a member of the ruling United Russia party, there is also a personal factor that may have contributed to Sergey Sobyanin being selected as a candidate for the post.
“Sobyanin has enormous experience of work in the government, he is known as an efficient professional. He has managed to create an effective system within the government staff and he was quite successful as a governor of one of the richest regions in Russia,” said Polikanov.
”Besides, it is also a matter of personal trust, because he is well known by the president and by the prime minister, and they trust him as a person and as a professional,” he added.
Sergey Sobyanin seems a much better candidate for the mayoral post than Yury Luzhkov, believes political analyst Aleksandr Fomenko. “At least he considers Moscow as a city where he is a newcomer, and such people consider the city where they live much more carefully,” he told RT.
Sobyanin, 52, the government’s chief of staff and a close ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, was considered the strongest candidate among four people who the ruling United Russia party had submitted to the president. He was born in Tyumen Region and was its governor from 2001 to 2005.
Sergey Borisov, RT