Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, approved a plan on Wednesday to more than double the size of the Russian capital Moscow.
The expansion of the city will allow state and government agencies to move beyond the current city limits
Last month, President Dmitry Medvedev proposed expanding the Moscow city boundaries, establishing “a metropolitan federal district” and relocating officials and bankers out of the traffic-clogged center into surrounding suburbs.
The initiative is one of a number of long-term policies aimed at modernizing Russia.
Overall, the plan adds 1,440 square kilometers (about 560 square miles) to the city’s current territory of 1,070 square kilometers, absorbing tracts of land between the Kievskoye and Varshavskoye highways in the southwest and south, as well as tracts abutting the Moscow Rail Circle.
The Moscow City Government has already announced plans to make an inventory of the new territories.
“The expansion will increase the investment prospects of both of Moscow and Moscow Region,” the Federation Council said.
Currently, Moscow is one of the most densely populated cities in Europe, with 11.5 million residents or about 11,000 people per square kilometer (about 28,000 per square mile).
The last major expansion of Moscow’s boundaries was in 1961, when the city’s population was 6 million, officials said.