Local media in Sverdlovsk reported that Acting President Putin, in a meeting with local Governor Eduard Rossel, supported Rossel’s suggestion that the governor-general, an institution created 300 years ago by Peter the Great, be revived. The governors general, appointed by the Tsar, exercised special powers over vast regions (in the nineteenth century, six regions covered the country). Proposals to consolidate Russia’s eighty-nine subfederal regions into a few large gubernias have circulated for several years and once again are gaining wide attention. In a book of interviews called “In the First Person,” journalists quote Putin to the effect that regions should not enjoy “unjustified” privileges and that governors, though they should be elected by the people, should not be “fully independent” of the center.