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    STATE DUMA TO CONSIDER PRESIDENT'S DRAFT LAW ON UNIFICATION OF TWO FEDERATION ENTITIES

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    MOSCOW, March 19 - RIA Novosti. On Friday the State Duma (the Russian parliament's lower chamber) will consider the draft law On Unifying Two Entities of the Russian Federation submitted by the president. This decision was taken by the Council of the State Duma on the day before.

    The draft law provides for legislatively formalizing the results of the referendum on setting up a new entity of the Russian Federation, a Perm Territory, held in the Perm Region and the Komi-Permyak Autonomous Area (the Volga federal district of Russia) in December 2003.

    The draft law contains provisions determining the main conditions and procedure for the formation of a Perm Territory, its name, status and borders, as well as a provision on discontinuation of the existence of the Perm Region and the Komi-Permyak Autonomous Area as entities of the Russian Federation in December 1, 2005, and actions of the transitional period of the emergence of the Perm Territory.

    On the day before the State Duma committee on the Federation affairs and regional policy recommended that the chamber approve the president's draft law.

    As the head of the regional policy subcommittee of the State Duma committee on the Federation affairs, deputy from the single-mandate constituency of the Komi-Permyak Autonomous area Andrei Klimov said in an interview with RIA Novosti, "the upcoming unification of the entities has no analogues not only in Russia but also in the world." "The federative state is being reorganized through disappearance of entities and emergence of another entity, on a voluntary basis and in strict accordance with the country's Constitution," Klimov said.

    The deputy whom the above-said committee tasked at its plenary meeting to deliver a report on the president's draft laws holds the view that the draft law regulating the procedure for unification of the Perm Region and the Komi-Permyak Autonomous Area "can be used as a model regulatory act." He stressed that this draft law proposes a transitional period, and outlines the economic, social, political and personnel issues of unification of two entities of the Russian Federation.

    In Klimov's opinion, adoption of this draft law will put into operation the mechanism allowing changes in the country's administrative-territorial division to be made, and this experience can be used not only in the forthcoming unification of the Perm Region and the Komi-Permyak Autonomous Area but also of other entities of the Russian Federation.

    The deputy believes that the number of the Russian Federation's entities may be reduced to 60-65 in the future. As he said, two-three other entities of the country, apart from the Perm Region and the Komi-Permyak Autonomous Area, can be unified in the immediate future. "The current administrative-territorial system emerged more than fifty years ago, and the Russian Federation's development requires its change and correction, specifically in the legislative sphere," Klimov believes.

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