Friday, February 1, 2019

Vladivostok May Orchestrate Next Regional Amalgamation by Combining Sakhalin and Primorsky Kray

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 31 – The Russian Far East which has already seen one territorial change in the last few months – the shift of Buryatia and the Transbaikal into the Far Eastern Federal District ( may soon see another, the amalgamation of Sakhalin and Primorsky kray.

            Znak’s Yekaterina Vinokurova cites a source in the Far Eastern FD presidential plenipotentiary headquarters as saying that officials there are discussing the possibility of regional referenda to achieve that end as earlier as this spring (

                Officials in the Presidential Administration in Moscow told her that this issue was not being discussed at the center, however.  Nonetheless, the idea of combining these two regions has been circulating in the Far East ever since Oleg Kozhemako, who earlier ran Sakhalin Oblast and Amur Oblast took over Primorsky kray last fall.

            During a December interview on Rossiya-24, Kozhemako said that the issue of uniting the two federal subjects would have to be decided by means of a referendum.  He noted that he knows how to do this given that he supervised the process of combining Koyakia and Kamchatsky kray earlier.

            If the two federal subjects were combined, Kozhemako’s influence would expand; and Putin’s on-again, off-again campaign for regional amalgamation might take off – with lower ranking officials assuming responsibility rather than everything coming down on the Kremlin and its leader.   

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