Putin promotes Donetsk official to governorship of Omsk region

Russian President Vladimir Putin has for the second time appointed a civil servant serving in one of the administrations installed by Russia in the occupied Ukrainian territories to lead one of the regions of Russia where the gubernatorial elections are due to take place later this year.

Putin on Wednesday appointed Vitaly Khotsenko, who was appointed prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic last year, as acting governor of the Omsk region in western Siberia.

The reshuffle came two weeks after Putin appointed Vladislav Kuznetsov, former deputy head of the Luhansk People’s Republic, as acting governor of the Chukotka Autonomous District in Russia’s Far East.

Omsk and Chukotka are among 25 Russian regions due to hold gubernatorial elections in September.

The partially Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson are also expected to hold gubernatorial elections later this year.

Observers called the upcoming gubernatorial elections “Proving groundfor the 2024 presidential race in which Putin is expected to seek a fifth term.

The new nominees are both members of the ruling United Russia party. They are also veterans ofrulers of russia”, a reality show-style competition organized by the first deputy head of the presidential administration Sergei Kiriyenko.

Putin’s governorship reshuffle was also marked by the sacking of the few remaining regional leaders who were not members of United Russia, who fell victim to what analysts call the ‘gubernatoropad’, or the annual firing of governors. before the September elections.

Khotsenko’s predecessor in the Omsk region, Alexander Burkov, was a member of the left-wing Just Russia party.

On March 17, Putin chose Vasily Anokhin, a member of United Russia, to replace Nationalist Liberal Democratic Party member Alexei Ostrovsky as interim governor of Smolensk region in western Russia.

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