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Divide et impera

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Russia is planning a major reform of its population structure by concentrating the bulk of its people in 20 urban centres rather than scattered across the country, Vedomosti reports. The plan, which would mark an end to the Soviet vision of covering Russia's vast territory with urban areas, has been worked out by the government and Kremlin administrations.

The plan could form a part of President Dmitry Medvedev's annual keynote address later this year and was in line with his drive to modernise Russia's economy. The secret document says that developing small towns with a population of less than 100,000 people — which make up 90 per cent of Russia's towns — had no perspective in the future.

"There is no need to fight against the current and we need to develop big cities and urban centres," the document said, according to Vedomosti. "Changing the map of the country is a necessary but not simple task which needs to be done very carefully as any overreaction could lead to a fight for urban resources," a government official told the newspaper.

The document said that the conditions had to be created to quicken the migration of the population from small towns to larger centres. The document also warned that if the process was carried out in a disorganised fashion there could be serious risks for the state due to imbalances between regions. The Kremlin declined to comment, Vedomosti said.



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