The Kremlin is planning to annex the occupied territories of Ukraine and combine them into a new federal district within Russia, according to Latvian-based Russian news outlet Meduza.
The Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) in eastern Ukraine, as well as the territories of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions are the areas that Moscow plans to merge into one district, three sources close to Putin's administration told the news outlet.
"The district should appear after referendums on joining Russia are held in these territories," one of the sources said. "Ukrainian territories will not join the existing districts."
Boris Rapoport, deputy head of the Presidential Administration Department for State Council Affairs, will supervise the creation of the new district, according to Meduza's sources.
Within the Kremlin, Rapoport is known as a "crisis manager," the outlet reports. He is currently working on recruiting staff to work in the administrations of cities in the DPR and LPR, as well as in "civilian-military administrations" in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions of Ukraine.
"They're looking for people who have experience working with the opposition, who can operate a bit unconventionally because the tasks in the Donbas are not trivial," a source said, according to the International Business Times.
According to the Times, Rapoport was involved in the Kremlin's Donbas policymaking in 2014.
The official is also known for his work on the electoral campaigns of Kremlin-backed candidates, including that of St. Petersburg Gov. Alexander Beglov.
The officials Rapoport recruits will be responsible for holding referendums on joining Russia, according to Meduza, with the first date tentatively scheduled for "mid-July, if the situation at the front allows it."
Referendums could also be held on Sept. 11, which is the single voting day in Russia, according to the outlet. Gubernatorial elections will also be held on that day.
According to one of Meduza's sources, Denis Pushilin, the head of the DPR, and Leonid Pasechnik, the head of the LPR, could also lose their positions in the near future, to be replaced with Russian officials.
"There should be no chaos in the distribution of budgetary funding by murky local characters," one of the sources said. "The money has to go in the right direction."
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