Medvedev proposes St. Petersburg acting head for governor

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday announced he would nominate acting St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko for the post of the city’s governor.

Medvedev named Poltavchenko, 58, his envoy to the Central Federal District, as acting head of St. Petersburg on August 22 after a municipal vote paved the way for Valentina Matviyenko, the outgoing governor, to lead the upper house of parliament.

“I made the decision to nominate you for the post of St. Petersburg governor,” the Russian president told Poltavchenko, a former KGB officer and staunch ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. “I hope that you will be able to handle the duties which will be imposed on you.”

Matviyenko managed to improve the city, Medvedev went on. However, many problems, including the poor state of utilities and underdeveloped transport system, are yet to be tackled, he added.

People also criticized the former governor for inactivity of municipal workers in cleaning the snow from the streets of St. Petersburg in time and complained of icicles hanging dangerously from the eves of roofs.

Poltavchenko thanked the president for his confidence. “The possibility, even a little, to improve the life of St. Petersburg residents is a powerful and pleasant challenge for me.”

Last week, Matviyenko sent a letter of resignation from the post of governor to President Medvedev taking a further step towards Russia’s third-highest political post as the Russian parliament’s upper house speaker.

St. Petersburg is Europe’s fourth most populous city after Istanbul, Moscow, and London with a population of about 4.6 million people, and is also the hometown of Medvedev and Putin.

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