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Three Siberian Regions Favor Merger

18 April 2005 -- Voters in three Siberian regions have voted strongly in favor of merging into a single entity of the Russian Federation.

ITAR -TASS reported partial results showing that more than 90 percent of voters in the Krasnoyarsk Krai voted yesterday in support of unification.

With all ballots counted, nearly 70 percent of voters in the Taimyr Autonomous Okrug, and nearly 80 percent of voters in the Evenk Autonomous Okrug backed a merger.

The Russian parliament would have to adopt a law changing the constitution to reflect the merger.

A united province would create Russia's second-biggest region -- an entity six times the size of Germany but with a population of just 3 million.

Krasnoyarsk Krai, home to the world's biggest producer of nickel and palladium, is a net contributor to Russia's state budget, but Evenk and Taimyr rely on subsidies from Moscow.