Sergei Sobyanin reported on the future
President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday met with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, whose second term expires in the fall, and wished him continued success. Typically, such meetings with the heads of the "pre-election" regions are interpreted as a sign of the Kremlin's support for the nomination. Mr. Sobyanin has not yet officially announced his participation in the autumn elections, but a Kommersant source familiar with the situation in the capital says that Mr. Sobyanin has such an intention, and his campaign will be based, among other things, on those successful projects that the mayor reported to the president.
At a meeting with Vladimir Putin on February 7, the mayor of the capital, Sergei Sobyanin, in fact, delivered a brief but rich report on the work done in this post. He began with a report that Moscow has moved into third place among the world's cities in terms of gross domestic product, taking into account purchasing power parity. The drivers of the economy in the future, according to the mayor, will be the development of the Rudnevo industrial complex in New Moscow, where the production of drones will be expanded, and the creation of its own Russian platform for electric vehicles at the Moskvich plant. Also, Mr. Sobyanin announced the completion of the construction of the Big Circle Metro Line and invited the president to take part in the opening of this "largest highway in the world among all the circle metro lines." At the same time, the mayor reported on the development of roads and railway transport, in particular, that two more diameters of the so-called surface metro will be launched this year - MCD-3 and MCD-4.
Another important topic of the meeting was housing construction and the implementation of the renovation program. “We have already resettled 100,000 residents – a whole city,” Sergey Sobyanin shared. “But this is only the beginning of this huge program, in the next three years we will resettle another 200,000. Ultimately, our task is to resettle about a million residents. But the program is gaining momentum.” In addition, according to the mayor, this year the reconstruction of half of the entire polyclinic fund will be completed and the city will receive 200 modern and equipped buildings. Mr. Sobyanin also spoke about the development of electronic technologies in Moscow. In particular, recalling the many “skeptical remarks about video surveillance in the city” and “all sorts of insinuations that this is bad, that someone will be followed,” the mayor, not without pride, said that this system “first of all, of course, works on the safety of the city” and helped to detain 7.7 thousand people on the federal wanted list.
Vladimir Putin did not stint on reciprocal praises. He called the transport development of the capital "powerful" and recalled that a few years ago there were "great doubts" about whether Moscow would be able to provide normal traffic within the city. “Yes, of course, with such a huge population and with such a density, this is not an easy task, but in general, Moscow succeeds in doing this better than in many other megacities of the world,” the president noted and expressed hope that the work of the mayor and his team “in at such a pace and with such quality” will be continued “and in the near future”.
Recall that in September 2023, Sergei Sobyanin expires the second term of mayoral powers (he was appointed to this post by the president in 2010, and in 2013 he won direct elections for the first time). The mayor has not yet publicly announced his desire to run for a third term, but the law allows him to do so. In 2021, the State Duma lifted the 2012 ban on being the head of the region for more than two terms, but allowed the authorities of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation to decide for themselves whether to remove this rule from their laws or leave it. However, in Moscow, the “rule of two terms” was not included in the city charter after 2012, so nothing had to be changed. At the same time, immediately after the ban was lifted, many experts suggested that, first of all, this solves the problem of Sergei Sobyanin, whom the federal center considers an effective leader and wants to see him in this position in the future.
According to a long-established tradition, the fact of President Putin's public meeting with the governor, whose powers are about to expire, is considered an informal approval of the nomination for new elections. But a Kommersant source familiar with the situation in Moscow also draws attention to the fact that Vladimir Putin expressed unequivocal approval of the work of the mayor. Therefore, it is obvious that Sergei Sobyanin plans to participate in the September elections, the source says. According to him, the mayor will most likely build his election campaign on those projects that he has already implemented and are successfully working, as well as on plans that are yet to be implemented.
The decision to call the election of the mayor of Moscow must be made no earlier than 100 days and no later than 90 days before the voting day, scheduled for September 10th. So far, only the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and Yabloko have declared their intention to participate in these elections. The Communist Party, as Kommersant previously reported, is already discussing possible candidates, and Kommersant's sources call State Duma deputies Denis Parfyonov and Vadim Kumin, as well as First Deputy Chairman of the Communist Party Central Committee Yuri Afonin, the most likely candidates. Moscow City Duma deputy Sergei Mitrokhin does not rule out a mayoral nomination from Yabloko, RIA Novosti reported on February 7. He himself confirmed this possibility to Kommersant, but made a reservation that he was concerned about a large number of obstacles, and, in particular, the municipal filter. Mr. Mitrokhin ran in the 2013 Moscow mayoral election and finished fourth with 3.51% of the vote. Yabloko did not take part in the 2018 campaign due to an internal conflict in the party.
Political scientist Alexander Asafov calls one of the main features of the upcoming campaign in Moscow the impact of the special operation in Ukraine - assistance to the mobilized and their families, patronage of cities in the new regions of the Russian Federation, etc. “The political aspect in this campaign will be secondary. The state of society, which sociology demonstrates, makes it clear that it is now more important to solve big issues that are tangible for every inhabitant,” notes Mr. Asafov. At the same time, he believes that urban development will become the leitmotif of Sergei Sobyanin's campaign. In general, in the electoral sense, the upcoming elections in the capital are unlikely to be “noisy”, although, given the presidential campaign starting in December 2023, the parties will show moderate public activity, the political scientist concludes.