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Mayor: City, Party 'Rolled Into One'

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin explicitly admitted that City Hall was supporting United Russia, but insisted that it was done within the limits of the law.

Sobyanin made his statement when asked by the Itogi weekly about campaign ads by the ruling party, which are a carbon copy of street billboards to promote the December vote paid for by the city.

"I see nothing illegal in these coincidences," the mayor said in an interview with Itogi published Monday. "But why beat around the bush? … In Moscow, city and party authorities are rolled into one, we work on the same tasks and questions. And it would be strange for the city administration and ruling party to have different slogans."

The mayor, who heads United Russia's Moscow branch, added that there was "no ill will" in the story, but avoided commenting on whether city election authorities failed to act impartially when they allowed United Russia use their billboard design.

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