Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin will seek his third term this fall as a member of the pro-Putin United Russia ruling party, the Kommersant business daily reported Friday.
Sobyanin will shed his previous non-affiliation with a political party for the first time since he was appointed to the mayorship in 2010.
Sobyanin is a 20-year veteran of United Russia and has been a member of the party’s Supreme Council since 2001.
But the Tyumen region native ran for Moscow mayor as an independent in 2013, the year he beat Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in a hotly contested vote, as well as in 2018.
“United Russia is planning to nominate Sergei Sobyanin as a candidate for Mayor of Moscow,” the party’s office in the Russian capital told Kommersant.
The report, which was later confirmed by Moscow’s senior United Russia member Irina Yeliferova, follows reporting in the early months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year that Sobyanin had sought to distance himself from the war.
Moscow’s mayoral elections are scheduled for Sept. 10, the day when dozens of other Russian regions elect their governors and representatives in parliament.
Public polling suggests 74% of registered voters intend to cast ballots for Sobyanin. United Russia’s approval rating stands at slightly more than 45% in Moscow.
United Russia is expected to announce Sobyanin as its candidate in early June.