Support The Moscow Times!

Sobyanin Fires Aide, Assails Reports

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin dismissed a senior city official and cut short a City Hall meeting after complaining that officials' presentation on school meals was "raw."

Sobyanin fired Viktor Damurchiyev, who had headed the city's land resources department since 2004, and replaced him with his first deputy, Galina Brazdnikova.

He gave no reason for the shuffle, which followed his unveiling of his team of nine deputy mayors Tuesday. Many of the deputies worked under former Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who was fired over a "loss of confidence" by President Dmitry Medvedev last month.

Brazdnikova holds degrees in legal studies and economics and has worked in different levels of the Moscow administration since 1987, RIA-Novosti reported.

The next Luzhkov-era official facing dismissal might be Leonid Bochin, head of the city's natural resources department, Gazeta.ru reported, citing a source close to City Hall.

Sobyanin interrupted a Wednesday meeting on school meals because the reports presented by officials were “poorly prepared,” City Hall said in a statement.

“After a series of reports by several department heads, Moscow's mayor broke up the meeting, calling the reports 'raw,' and ordered everyone to come back better prepared in 90 minutes,” the statement said.

Before the meeting was cut short, Sobyanin ordered that two departments — food supplies and consumer market and services — be moved under the supervision of Deputy Mayor Yury Roslyak, who is responsible for the city's economic policy.

Late in the afternoon, Sobyanin visited some of the streets that experience the biggest traffic jams, signaling that he would follow Medvedev's orders to tackle the city's notorious traffic problems. Only two media outlets were allowed to follow the mayor: the TV Center and Channel One television channels.

But media were allowed for the first time into the City Hall meeting Wednesday, after all but TV Center were barred from the first few held since Sobyanin became mayor last Thursday. New Deputy Mayor Alexander Gorbenko, a former general director for Rossiiskaya Gazeta, said in an interview published Wednesday in Kommersant that journalists were needed to help battle Moscow corruption.

But the list of journalists accredited to City Hall “will be shorter than it used to be,” an unidentified City Hall official told RIA-Novosti.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

The Moscow Times’ team of journalists has been first with the big stories on the coronavirus crisis in Russia since day one. Our exclusives and on-the-ground reporting are being read and shared by many high-profile journalists.

We wouldn’t be able to produce this crucial journalism without the support of our loyal readers. Please consider making a donation to The Moscow Times to help us continue covering this historic time in the world’s largest country.