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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pronin Named Moscow Police Chief

Major General Vladimir Pronin was named Moscow's police chief on Wednesday in a compromise that ends a year-and-a-half-long dispute between Mayor Yury Luzhkov and the Interior Ministry.

"The candidacy of the new police chief was discussed with Mayor Yury Luzhkov. He has no objections," Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov was quoted by Interfax as saying after making the appointment.

The spat over who would lead the city's police started in December 1999 when then-President Boris Yeltsin fired Moscow police chief Nikolai Kulikov for failing to prevent a series of apartment building blasts that killed hundreds of people. Luzhkov stood by Kulikov, fiercely fighting against then-Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo's decision to pick Viktor Shvidkin to fill the post. He argued that the president could not fire a top police officer without the approval of the elected regional leader and took his case to court. The Supreme Court ultimately rejected a appeal from the mayor to invalidate the presidential decree dismissing Kulikov.

After failing to get Kulikov reinstalled through legal channels, Luzhkov began boycotting requests from Shvidkin to provide subsidies for new police cars and equipment.

The Federation Council approved legislation last week stripping regional leaders of their right to have a say in the appointment of police chiefs.

Nevertheless, Gryzlov met with Luzhkov on Tuesday and got his blessing, Interfax said.

Pronin, 52, started his career as a police officer in 1971. From 1991 to 1997 he headed the police force in Kursk. In 1997, he acted as chief emergencies inspector for the Interior Ministry's General Staff, a position that took him several times to Chechnya. For most of the past four years he has headed the police force in Moscow's southeastern district.

"He is a professional with superior qualifications, very active and balance-minded, and he has organizational skills," Vladimir Zotov, the administrative head of the southeastern district, was quoted by Interfax as saying.