Putin's Chief of Staff Nominated for Moscow Mayor

MOSCOW -- President Dmitry Medvedev has nominated Vladimir Putin's chief of staff as the next mayor of Moscow.

Kremlin spokeswoman Yevgeniya Styopochkina confirmed to The Associated Press that the candidacy of Sergei Sobyanin had been put forward Friday.

The Moscow city legislature has to approve the nomination, which is widely seen as a formality.
Putin, the prime minister, appointed Sobyanin as presidential chief of staff when he was president in 2005. Sobyanin is set to replace Yuri Luzhkov, who was dismissed by Medvedev last week after 18 years in office.

If confirmed, the appointment would bring the Kremlin control over business interests in the capital. Luzhkov was one of the last remaining power bases in Russia not under the direct power of the Kremlin.