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(RFE/RL) 1 December 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Russia has a new region: Perm Krai.

The new region came officially into being today when Governor Oleg Chirkunov signed a decree formally establishing it.

It unites Perm Oblast and Komi-Permyak Autonomous Okrug. The regional capital is the city of Perm.

In a 2004 referendum, nearly 85 percent of residents of both regions voted to unite. In October, their legislatures confirmed Chirkunov, who had been nominated by President Vladimir Putin, to the post of governor.

This is the first merger to take place as part of President Vladimir Putin's plans for a vast territorial-administrative reform that would reduce the number of federation subjects from 89 to less than one-third of that number. The merger of Krasnoyarsk Krai and the much smaller Evenki and Taimyr autonomous okrugs is to be officially completed in 1 January 2007.

(RFE/RL's Russian Service/ITAR-TASS)

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