Sergei Sobyanin, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's former chief of staff, was named Moscow mayor today even as he lacks a popular mandate to tackle the city's gridlock, widening budget deficit and corruption.
The Putin aide replaces Yury Luzhkov, whom Medvedev fired last month after 18 years running Europe's largest city. Sobyanin was approved by the Moscow city council today, where Putin's United Russia party holds 32 out of 35 seats. He was relieved of his duties on the federal level.
"Step by step we'll fix the city's problems," Sobyanin said on state television after the Moscow City Duma approved his nomination by President Dmitry Medvedev. "At the very least we'll continuously improve the situation," Bloomberg reports.
Sergei Sobyanin took office on Thursday as Moscow mayor. His inauguration ceremony is held in the White Hall of the City Hall on Moscow's downtown Tverskaya Street.
"I swear to adhere to the Constitution of Russian Federation, federal and Moscow laws while performing the mayoral duties. I swear to faithfully and devotedly perform the duties, to serve the city's prosperity and the citizen's well-being," Sobyanin said, according to RIA Novosti.
After a trip to Russia, Polish writer Maya Wolny concluded that the West did not even have a close idea of how things really were in the Russian Federation.