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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zubkov Approves Border Body

Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said Wednesday that he would soon appoint a candidate to head a federal agency established last week to oversee the development of border-crossing infrastructure.

"We have selected the head of this agency and he will be appointed in the next two or three days," Zubkov told a meeting of the State Border Commission, which coordinates the activities of government agencies on facilitating cross-border traffic and intercepting illegal crossings.

Zubkov said he had already tasked these agencies with detailing the functions of the Federal Border Development Agency, which President Vladimir Putin created Oct. 10, Interfax reported.

He said the border development agency would "build and reconstruct facilities related to border protection" and called for all the agencies, including the FSB's Border Service and the Federal Customs Service, to adopt measures to reduce bureaucracy at borders, which often results in long lines.

A law on state borders passed in January handed the Border Service and the Federal Customs Service leading roles in the control of national frontiers. The new agency should relieve these services of responsibility for building and maintaining border-crossing infrastructure that the border and customs services use, according to a government decree published Monday in Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

Border Service chief Vladimir Pronichev welcomed the news in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta, saying, "Border control agencies should be relieved of irrelevant duties."