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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Matviyenko Calls for Creation of Super Region

St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko is pushing for a merger of the city and the surrounding Leningrad region, reviving a proposal floated by St. Petersburg's first mayor in the 1990s.

"I am a supporter of the idea that this should ultimately be one region," Matviyenko said Friday, Interfax reported.

Matviyenko said a merger would iron out administrative wrinkles, boost the effectiveness of governance and improve infrastructure.

"These days, St. Petersburg is cramped. ... Sooner or later, this issue will be raised and settled," she said.

The city of St. Petersburg, like Moscow, is treated as a federal region. They are both surrounded by separate federal regions that share their former or present-day name: the Leningrad region and the Moscow region, respectively. Both cities have governors, as do both surrounding regions; all are hired and fired by the president.

No other cities have region status.

For two regions to merge, referendums must be held in each one and, should the people agree, must be approved in the State Duma.

Mayor Yury Luzhkov floated a similar idea for Moscow and the surrounding region last year, which came to nothing, and several regions over the past two years have passed referendums to merge.

St. Petersburg's first mayor, Anatoly Sobchak, pushed for such a merger when President Vladimir Putin worked under him.