Ministry Plans to Redraw Regional Borders

The Regional Development Ministry plans to redraw regional borders to create 10 super-regions, a move some analysts say could lead to infighting between regional heads for powerful new "super governor" positions.

The ministry's initiative is aimed at leveling the economic and social gap between the country's regions, with a focus on those regions that rely heavily on federal budget subsidies, Gazeta.ru reported Wednesday, citing an unnamed government source.

The reform may become one of the first initiatives of the new government of President-elect Dmitry Medvedev after his May 7 inauguration, the government source said.

The leaders of the new super-regions could become deputies under Regional Development Minister Dmitry Kozak, while Kozak's ministry could get some of the powers of the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, the government source told Gazeta.ru.

Governors of the economically developed regions of Krasnoyarsk, Perm, Krasnodar, Amur, St. Petersburg and Khabarovsk might qualify for super-governor posts, Gazeta.ru suggested.

The seven federal districts, headed by presidential envoys, would preserve their status under the new system, the source said.

Political analyst Dmitry Badovsky said the reform could lead to infighting among powerful regional leaders.

"Some economic regions have an undisputed leader, while others may have several," Badovsky told Gazeta.ru.