President Dmitry Medvedev has fired the mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov, who has led the city since 1992 but lately faced harsh criticism from the Kremlin.
The decree, published on the Kremlin web site, ordered Mr Luzhkov, 74, to be "dismissed from the position of Moscow mayor because he has lost the confidence of the Russian president". The decree appointed Mr Luzhkov's deputy, Vladimir Resin, as acting mayor.
The Kremlin publicly criticised Mr Luzhkov's decision to take a holiday during the August smog that engulfed the capital, and the mayor was targeted in a series of mud-raking documentaries shown on Russian television this month. The mayor has long been dogged by corruption allegations over the business activities of his wife, construction billionaire Yelena Baturina, and has also been criticised by preservationists for destroying Moscow's historic centre.
His dismissal came as the Kremlin seeks to freshen up the ranks of regional leaders, recently accepting the resignations of a number of long-serving regional governors, who since 2005 have been appointed by the president. Mr Luzhkov on Monday had said in televised comments that he would not stand down as mayor voluntarily.