Russian President Vladimir Putin for the second time appointed an official working in one of the Russian-appointed administrations in the occupied Ukrainian territories to head one of Russia’s regions where gubernatorial elections are due to take place later this year.

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

The reshuffle took place two weeks after Putin named The former deputy head of the LPR Vladislav Kuznetsov is temporarily acting as the governor of the Chukotka Autonomous District in the Far East of Russia.

Both Omsk and Chukotka are among the 25 regions of Russia that will hold gubernatorial elections in September.

The Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson are also partially occupied by Russia is expected hold gubernatorial elections later this year.

Observers called the upcoming gubernatorial elections “training ground” for the 2024 presidential race, in which Putin is expected to seek a fifth term.

Both newly appointed members are members of the ruling United Russia party. They are also graduates”Leaders of Russia“, a competition in the style of a reality show, organized by the first deputy head of the presidential administration, Sergey Kiriyenko.

Putin’s gubernatorial reshuffle has been marked by the ousting of a handful of regional leaders who were not members of United Russia, victims of what analysts call “governorship,” or the annual ousting of governors ahead of September elections.

Khatsenko’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 The acting governor of the Smolensk region in the west of Russia is Alyaksei Ostrovsky, a member of the nationalist LDPR.

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