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Sobyanin Removes Transport Chief, Prefect

The Moscow city government saw more major reshuffles as a reported Kremlin protege became head of the City Hall transportation department Friday and the lone female prefect resigned, citing her age.

Helping Mayor Sergei Sobyanin in his crusade against traffic will be Nikolai Godunov, 57. He had led the Samara region's state traffic watchdog since 2008.

Godunov was recommended by Vyacheslav Volodin, a Samara deputy governor in the 1990s who succeeded Sobyanin as the government's chief of staff, Kommersant reported Saturday, citing a source with knowledge of the matter.

Godunov's biggest achievement in Samara was squeezing out small transportation companies and handing over most routes for shuttle minibuses, known as marshrutkas, to big companies, Kommersant reported.

Godunov took over for Vasily Kichedzhi, who was given the post by then-Mayor Yury Luzhkov in March 2009. He was reappointed as the department's acting head after President Dmitry Medvedev fired Luzhkov in September.

Sobyanin gave no reason for dismissing Kichedzhi, 56, a former chief of a Chelyabinsk-based tractor factory. Only a day before, however, Kichedzhi said he did not support a proposal to raise ticket prices for public transport and proposed privatizing trolleybuses and trams, City-FM radio reported.

Separately, the prefect of the Northeastern Administrative District, Irina Raber, retired on Saturday, citing her age, Interfax reported. Raber, 61, had held the post since 2000.

Sobyanin appointed Raber's deputy Igor Kolsnikov as acting prefect, the report said.

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