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President and Mayor Discuss City Expansion

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, left, and President Dmitry Medvedev, center, conferring at a government session. The president and mayor have talked over federal-level plans to expand the capital. Denis Grishkin

GORKI, Moscow Region — Everyone will win from the merger of Moscow and the Moscow region, President Dmitry Medvedev said at a meeting with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Tuesday, Interfax reported.

“Not everyone has an understanding of what will come from it. But everyone should win as a result of this decision, Muscovites should win, not just the government, business, financial center [and] Skolkovo. Everyone should win, and that is a strategic task,” Medvedev said.

Sobyanin said there would soon be competition to create a Moscow metropolitan area development concept.

“It will be stated in the technical specifications that large parks, medical centers, campuses, research and administrative centers [and] housing are to be developed in the new territories, that is, all the tasks that stand before Moscow,” Sobyanin said.

The mayor stressed that currently “the formal aspect of the matter has been settled and all the necessary decisions made” in Moscow, the Moscow region and the Federation Council.

According to Sobyanin, there will be a transitional period through July 1, 2012, during which budget issues and cooperation between federal and territorial governments should be worked out. He asked the president to issue instructions to that effect.

Sobyanin also told the president that the city enjoyed the first natural increase in population in the past 23 years, with birth rates exceeding death rates. The number of people who died in Moscow dropped by 12,000 in 2011, versus the previous year, the mayor added. Sobyanin also said 2 million square meters of new housing were completed in Moscow last year — 20 percent more than in 2010.

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