13 May 2020 16:54

Heads of Arkhangelsk region, Nenets Autonomous District sign memorandum of intention to combine regions

NARYAN-MAR. May 13 (Interfax) - Alexander Tsybulsky, acting governor of the Arkhangelsk region, and Yury Bezdudny, acting head of the Nenets Autonomous District, signed a memorandum of intention to unify their regions into one region of the Russian Federation on Wednesday.

The memorandum "has been signed," the press service for the Arkhangelsk region's government told Interfax on Wednesday.

A meeting on the issue of combining the regions took place in Naryan-Mar on Wednesday.

Local residents will make a final decision on the unification of the Arkhangelsk Region and the Nenets Autonomous District into a single region at a referendum, the press service for the government of the Arkhangelsk Region told Interfax later on Wednesday, citing Tsybulsky.

"We hope that most local residents will join this discussion. If they find this proposal feasible and promising, then, we will come up with decisions that this kind of merger may take place. However, this always can be resolved by the open expression of will of our residents at a referendum," the press service quoted Tsybulsky as saying.

The working groups will hold consultations with the public and the expert community of the Arkhangelsk Region and the Nenets Autonomous District, and will collect proposals made by local residents. These groups were set up on May 13 by the orders issued by Tsybulsky and Bezdudny. Based on the collected initiatives, the working groups are to draw up proposals for the establishment of a new constituent territory in Russia.

"A joint commission, which will include an equal number of representatives of both regions, will coordinate the work on elaborating a draft agreement on the unification. Acting governors of the constituent territories that are expected to be merged will co-chair the commission," he added.

The merger of the Arkhangelsk region and the Nenets Autonomous District has been discussed for more than a year.

According to the Arkhangelsk region's charter, the Nenets Autonomous District "is a constituent entity [of the Russian Federation] and simultaneously a part of the [Arkhangelsk] region." The Arkhangelsk region governor submits proposals to the Russian president on candidates for post of the Nenets Autonomous District governor.

According to the Nenets Autonomous District's charter, "the district's merger with other constituent entities [of the Russian Federation] is possible only based on the expression of the will of most citizens who live in the district and have the right to vote."

On April 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted the resignation of Alexander Tsybulsky from the post of the Nenets region governor and appointed him acting governor of the Arkhangelsk region instead of Igor Orlov, who had stepped down. Putin appointed Yury Bezdudny as head of the Nenets Autonomous District.