In a rare act of protest in Russia, several local elected officials in St. Petersburg’s Smolninskoye district called on the State Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament) to impeach President Vladimir Putin for “high crimes of treason.” They report that they immediately woke up to the summons of the police CNN.
The author of the call for Putin’s impeachment, Dmitry Polyuka, posted the document on Twitter, saying the Russian president is “guilty of destroying Russian youth capable of being more useful in the workforce than in the military; economic stagnation and a “brain drain” from Russia; NATO’s eastward expansion, including the annexation of Finland and Sweden, which is with Russia. Double the coalition’s borders; the opposite effect of “special military action” in Ukraine.”
Baliuka and his colleague Nikita Yuferev tweeted a summons from police in Vladimir Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg for “insulting the government.”
A second city council, this time in Moscow’s Lomonosov district, followed St. Petersburg’s lead and voted for a similar resolution calling for Putin’s resignation. The Washington Post.
Face-to-face criticism of Putin is rare, and while both movements are highly symbolic statements, they represent significant public opposition. They are also evidence that support for the war in Ukraine is not universal.
Baliuka said that 4 local elected officials from St. Petersburg are expected to be called to the police and fined.
The Kremlin has sought to crack down on any criticism of its invasion of Ukraine, including through legislation that imposes harsh criminal penalties for spreading “false” information. Even mentioning the word “war” in connection with “special operation” in Ukraine is not allowed
In Ukraine, “We understand that Putin will not cry and stop the operation,” Nikita Yuferev told The Washington Post.
“These demands are written for those who are still in Russia and for those who the propaganda is trying to portray as a minority,” he added.
Yuferev said that after calls for Putin’s impeachment went viral on Russian social media, councilors received a “flood” of letters of support from people offering their support, from legal aid to donations to pay the fines politicians can receive.
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