A spasm of liberalism on the part of the famously authoritarian elected leader? Not quite. It turns out that some places in Russia have labor shortages. Putin has ordered bureaucrats to find some way to cut through the paperwork so Russians can go where the work is.
One person who would have been glad of such an opportunity is the 19th-Century social thinker Alexander Herzen. He writes about his own experience with the passport system (apparently in 1847):
The second day after my arrival in Petersburg the house porter came to ask me from the local police: "With what papers had I come to Petersburg?" The only paper I had, the decree concerning my retirement from the service, I had sent to the Governor-General with my request for a passport. I gave the house-porter my permit, but he came back to say that it was valid for leaving Moscow but not for entering Petersurg. A police-officer came too,with an invitation to the oberpolitsmeyster's office. I went to Kokoshkin's office, which was lit by lamps although it was daytime, and after an hour he arrived. Kokoshkin more than other persons of the same selection was the picture of a servant of the Tsar with no ulterior designs, a man in favour, ready to do any dirty job, a favourite with no conscience and no bent for reflection. He served and made his pile as naturally as birds sing. ...What a shame he wasn't a citizen of a free country. Oh wait.--Alexander Herzen, Ends and Beginnings 207
(Oxford UP World's Classic ed. 1985)