10/19/2010, 00.00
RUSSIA

The new mayor of Moscow, Putin's victory or a deal with Medvedev

Nina Achmatova
After the "dismissal" of Luzhkov, the Kremlin appointed first deputy prime minister Sobjanin mayor. Analysts wonder about the choice: a compromise in the power struggle between Putin and Medvedev or confirmation of the supremacy of the premier.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Now this is just formality. In short - most likely Thursday - Moscow will have its new mayor after the defenestration of the powerful Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has nominated his candidate, which now only needs to be approved by the City Council. He is head of the Cabinet of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Deputy Prime Minister, Sergei Sobjanin.

Among the names circulating in recent days as possible successors to Luzhkov, Sobjanin was the highest rated. Siberian from Tyumen, 52, the deputy began to appear more often on television over the last week. On 14 October he kicked off the general census of the Russian population live on TV.

The Luzhkov story, fired Sept. 28 by the Kremlin because of a "loss of confidence," was viewed by many analysts as the tip of the iceberg of a far deeper clash between Putin and Medvedev ahead of the presidential elections of 2012. Analysts are now divided on the choice of what many consider a "man of Putin". On the one hand, some say that the appointment of the "right arm" of the prime minister does not automatically mark the victory of the old guard over the modernizing forces of Medvedev, who in dismissing Luzhkov freed Moscow of one of the last political dinosaurs who survived the collapse of the USSR . Sobjanin, in fact, could be more of a compromise solution, a sort of "truce," says Vladimir Pribylovsky, head of the Panorama think tank. The alternative could be the other deputy prime minister, Igor Sechin, one of the most conservative advisers to Putin, the highest representative of the siloviki lobby (former security service men now at the top of political power). That would ensure that the victory was clearly the prime minister’s. "Sobjanin is more moderate and less ambitious than Sechin," said Pribylovsky.

For others, like Mikhail Daljagin of Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper, however, the appointment of Sobjanin means the dismissal of Luzhkov was born at the behest of the Prime Minister and that the the new mayor "will deliver Moscow, and its huge turnover into Putin's hands. "

Anyway, what matters most now is bringing the capital under the aegis of the central government.

Even the Orthodox Church has expressed itself on Sobjanin’s appointment. Vladimir Legoyda head of information of the Moscow Patriarchate, said: "We hope that the constructive and productive cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Moscow government will continue to grow in quality in the future." The patriarchate official recalls that the capital is the last city in Russia for churches per capita and calls on the new authorities to continue the project for the construction of 200 new Orthodox churches began by the previous administration. Legoyda also stresses the need to set up an education policy in schools taking into account the study of traditional religious cultures.

In the 18 years of the Luzhkov reign, Moscow has become a sort of feudal state within a state. The former mayor transformed it into a glittering megalopolis of modern luxury, amid allegations of corruption and profiteering in favor of his wife Elena Baturina, who became the richest woman in the country. With time, Luzhkov became too powerful to remain pleasing to the Kremlin. Medvedev made it clear right away: "The city authority must be fully integrated with the federal authority before it can be efficient and gain trust in its abilities."

Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
Kremlin declares war of the last Tsar of Moscow
21/09/2010
Medvedev dismisses powerful Moscow mayor
28/09/2010
Moscow Patriarchate to promote three Orthodox values in the 21st century
14/03/2011
Eliminate "God" from national anthem. The Russian Communists against Putin and patriarchate
25/11/2009
In current political crisis Russians see Church as only authoritative institution
04/06/2012