Monday, October 18, 2010

The new Mayor of Moscow

President Medvedev may have been the one to fire the last one (what was his name ... oh yes ... Luzhkov) but it is Prime Minister Putin who appoints the new one and, of course, all that nonsense about elections for local government was abolished some time ago.

Sergei Sobyanin was Vladimir Putin's chief of staff and, for the last three years, the successor-in-waiting to Yury Luzhkov.
Even though Mr Sobyanin's appointment was formally made by Mr Medvedev, he owes his promotion to Mr Putin, the prime minister, who remains the top decision-maker in the country, and who has every reason to be confident in Mr Sobyanin’s personal loyalty. (It was telling that before submitting a list of candidates for the mayor’s office to Mr Medvedev, deputies from United Russia, Russia’s ruling party, publicly consulted their leader, Mr Putin.)
Mr Sobyanin, as the linked article in the Economist explains, has been useful to Mr Putin in the past and, for the time being, his loyalty is assured. What happens in the future is always a little doubtful as far as Russian politics is concerned. He inherits a messy and corrupt situation but there have been no scandals connected with his name. In fact, there have been next to no stories about Mr Sobyanin who managed to keep a tight control on the media when he was regional governor of Tyumen. And so, the last local robber baron is replaced with a bureaucratic representative of the central robber barony.

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