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Shift Russia’s capital city from Moscow to Siberia, says former Emergency Minister Sergei Shoigu

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10 April 2012


One of country’s most prominent politicians believes the capital should be located further away from its Western borders.

Former emergencies minister Sergei Shoigu, was asked about moving the Russian seat of power from its current location into his new fiefdom of Moscow Region.

'Many people approve of the idea and I am probably one of them. I believe the capital should be located somewhere further away, in Siberia,' he said.

The new regional governor hails from Tuva, in southern Siberia, but he gave no further details of his thinking.

Nor did he name the place in Siberia where he thought the capital should be located.

Firebrand politician Eduard Limonov has advocated such an idea in the past. In his Other Russia party's 2010 manifesto, he proposed that a new capital should be built from scratch in southern Siberia.He forecast such a move would ease regional rivalry and re-balance Moscow's economic dominance.

While the chances of Moscow losing its status as the Russian capital appear to be nil, there are precedents for the capital being outside the largest city.

For a long period, St Petersburg acted as Russia's royal capital, even though the tsars were crowned in Moscow.

In 1998, the capital of Kazakhstan was moved from Almaty to Astana, closer to the centre of the country.

Other countries where the largest city is not the capital include Australia, Brazil, Canada, The Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland. 

Sergei Shoigu was born on 21 May 1955 in Chadan to a Tuvan father and Russian mother.

He studied civil sngineering in Krasnoyarsk and worked in Abakan before moving to Moscow in 1990.

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