Rumors of possible replacements for Yuriy Luzhkov as mayor of Moscow have just started swirling, and lots of names are floating, but it’s worth mentioning that people are talking about Serdyukov as one possibility.
Today’s Vedomosti claims Defense Minister Serdyukov is on a reported short-list of candidates for Moscow mayor, along with the President’s deputy chief of staff Aleksandr Beglov, popular Emergency Situations Minister Sergey Shoygu, and Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Sobyanin.
It would be difficult to replace Serdyukov with army reforms in full swing right now, according to a source close to the Presidential Administration. But Serdyukov is the only one of these men with business experience that President Medvedev is said to value.
One of Vedomosti’s interlocutors ‘knows’ that Serdyukov discussed the possible move with his patron, Prime Minister Putin, on Thursday, delaying the start of the Defense Ministry collegium in St. Petersburg by two hours.
A Defense Ministry official claims there’s talk inside the military department to the effect that Serdyukov was offered the mayor’s job, but declined in order to finish military reform. Is it really possible to say no to that kind of offer? Probably not.
Vedomosti also says there’s talk Medvedev will select a native Muscovite, which Serdyukov is not.
How much stock should we put in any of these rumors? Probably not too much. They’re interesting nonetheless, and show that Serdyukov and his managerial skills are pretty well regarded.