The inauguration for the Mayor of Moscow was held at the Hall of Fame of the Central Great Patriotic War Museum on Poklonnaya Gora.
* * *
Speech at inauguration ceremony for Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
Mr Sobyanin, I congratulate you on officially taking office as Mayor of Moscow, Russia’s capital. I sincerely wish you success in your work for the good of Muscovites and the entire nation.
The election was held just recently. It was held in a truly free, absolutely competitive fashion, without any pressure or attempts to corrupt its results.
People have now seen that in our nation overall and in major metropolises like Moscow, officials are not selected via disruptive protests or civil confrontations, but with the help of civilised democratic procedures. I feel this is the most important result of the elections that were held in Moscow.
Mr Sobyanin, during the elections, you proposed a large-scale programme for developing the city. This programme was developed first and foremost with care and attention toward Muscovites, I know this well.
Overall, a lot was done in Moscow even before. Much has been done, thanks in part to previous mayor, Yury Luzhkov. But certainly, there are problems as well. Naturally, there are always many problems in a major metropolis, in any major metropolitan city. It is impossible to fully satisfy the needs of every individual – that is an obvious fact. We should strive to do this, but it very difficult to accomplish.
But the most important problem is not when something is not done or when certain results are not achieved. A major metropolitan city’s main problem lies with its bureaucrats, within the impenetrable walls that people cannot enter. That is the reason why some people cast protest votes. I am confident that nobody was voting against Mr Sobyanin. What is there to vote against? He has done nothing but good, especially given his short period of time in office. But there was protest voting, because of this occasional bureaucratic tyranny.
I am speaking about this openly, so that people, particularly those working in various official positions in Moscow, know and understand this. And I hope that the re-elected Mayor of Moscow, who was elected through truly fair, direct secret vote by the city residents, will keep this in mind. This is a very important component of working at any level of government, for any leader, because they will only feel their power supported if they have an honest relationship with the people. And the most important power of any leader is the people’s support.
Indeed, Mr Sobyanin has proposed major, large-scale work to rebuild municipal services. Much has been done recently under his leadership. Schools, preschools, clinics and hospitals are being opened, and public transport is developing rapidly. There are many problems in this area, and we certainly know this. But I know how Mr Sobyanin approaches resolving these issues. I am confident that there will be changes for the better.
The city is building modern highways, interchanges and subway lines. Pedestrian streets, parks and squares are being improved. A great deal of attention is being given to environmental issues and maintaining Moscow’s historical appearance.
I will particularly note that the capital has created one of the most modern social protection systems: over 4.5 million residents are taking advantage of various social support measures. I don’t think we have this in any other city, and it’s hard to find examples of other major cities in the world that have such broad social support programmes. These include supporting large families, the elderly, and veterans. We are also expanding the barrier-free (urban) environment.
I think city officials have defined a good vector for development, identifying the right priorities by putting people’s needs first and creating the conditions for them to live comfortably, conveniently and safely.
The city is regaining its sense of romance, traditional good neighbourliness and hospitality. At the same time, Moscow remains the flagship for our nation’s business and economic life, and one of the most rapidly growing cities in the world.
Friends, I have known Mr Sobyanin for a long time, and he is absolutely not an arrogant or conceited person; he is a very positive, business oriented, and calm man. Perhaps he was not made for major political campaigns. He is not Robespierre; he does not like to make big speeches and perhaps does not even know how to speak in public or on stage. But he is a very scrupulous, decent, honest and talented person.
I wish him success.