Answering a question during an interview with the Russian News Service about the possibility of the federal government moving to the Moscow region, Shoigu said: "I think the capital needs to be moved farther away, to Siberia."
Radio host Sergei Dorenko quipped back that Moscow would empty out if such an unlikely step were taken. "Rats will run around the streets," Dorenko said.
President Dmitry Medvedev proposed last year moving government agency buildings outside the Moscow Ring Road, which roughly serves as the current city limits.
Shoigu, who has served as Emergency Situations Minister since 1994, is a native of the Republic of Tyva, located on the border with Mongolia. He was nominated to be Moscow region governor this week by Medvedev and voted into the office by the region's legislature on Thursday.
Shoigu has devised a plan to create a state-run Far East development corporation and was slated to head the entity, Vedomosti reported last week. Speculation has it that First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov may take that job.