ROSTOV-ON-DON, December 7. /TASS/. The number of passport offices in Russia’s southern Rostov Region for residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics (DPR, LPR) wishing to get Russian passports will reach eight in December, Deputy Chairman of the Russian State Duma (lower house) Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Viktor Vodolatsky told TASS.
"Six offices [issuing passports under a simplified procedure] are working now. Two more will open in two weeks’ time. By the end of the year, there will be eight offices in the Rostov Region," he said, adding that plans were in store to open new offices in the cities of Krasny Sulin and Gukovo.
According to Vodolatsky, the need to expand the network of such offices stems from the growing number of applications from residents of the Donetsk republics. "We analyzed that the number of applications would increase in the coming months," he said.
Rostov Region Governor Vasily Golubev earlier said that more than 170,000 residents of the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics had obtained Russian passports under a fast-track procedure.
On April 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree, which eases Russian citizenship rules for residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. According to the document, the decision was made "in order to protect human rights and freedoms" based on generally accepted international laws.
In June, two first specialized Russian Interior Ministry departments in the Rostov Region began issuing Russian passports to DPR and LPR residents. Two more offices opened in July, and in early December their number reached six.