Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's right-hand man in the government has been elected Mayor of Moscow, the third most important job in Russia.

Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Sobyanin vowed to tackle the corruption that flourished under his predecessor, Yuri Luzhkov. President Dmitry Medvedev sacked Mr. Luzhkov, who had held office for 18 years, for losing “the President's confidence”. The appointment of Mr. Putin's trusted ally to Moscow, which generates 24 per cent of Russia's GDP, is fresh evidence that the Prime Minister remains Russia's most powerful political figure more than two years after he relinquished presidency.

Mr. Sobyanin's departure leaves vacant the post of the Russian co-chair in the Indo-Russian Intergovernmental Commission (IRIGC) for trade and economic cooperation. His appointment was seen as a strong signal of Moscow's resolve to inject new dynamism into Indo-Russian economic relations. It is not clear who will head the Russian delegation to the IRIGC annual session due to meet next month in New Delhi ahead of Mr. Medvedev's visit to India in December.

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