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Sobyanin Orders Change Up in City Hall

There could be some fresh faces coming to City Hall, following Mayor Sergei Sobyanin's decision to dismiss the Moscow city government.

Sobyanin, who won Sunday's mayoral election with 51 percent of the vote, signed the order as acting mayor on Thursday ahead of his inauguration later that evening, RIA Novosti reported Friday.

During the inauguration ceremony President Vladimir Putin said of an onlooking Sobyanin, "He's not a Robespierre. He doesn't like to speak publicly." Indeed, Sobyanin, who was first appointed mayor by then-President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, decided to restructure the cabinet for his first elected term without making a public announcement.

While the move may seem dramatic, Alexei Mukhin, head of the Center for Political Information, said the dismissal is just a "technical act" and is not unusual for a re-elected mayor.

Furthermore, City Hall officials will continue to fulfill their duties until the new city government is formed.

On Thursday, media reports said that Sergei Kapkov, acting head of the city's culture department, could leave his post. It now appears that he could be joined by other members of City Hall, though many current officials are expected to reprise their roles in the new government.

Sobyanin, a member of United Russia, broke the 50 percent barrier required to decide the mayoral election in the first round of voting on Sunday. His closest challenger, RPR-Parnas candidate Alexei Navalny, received 27 percent of the vote and filed 951 complaints to Moscow courts on Thursday, claiming that violations pushed Sobyanin over the 50 percent threshold.

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