ACalls for Vladimir Putin to step down as president or be removed from office are rare in Russia. The third such initiative was launched on Monday within a few days. Putin’s actions “damage the future of Russia and its citizens,” according to a resignation call from St. Petersburg district deputy Kseniya Torstrjom.
According to Torstrjom, their petition from the “local deputies of Russia” had been signed by 20 deputies by Monday afternoon, 13 from St. Petersburg and seven from Moscow. Torstrjom added that the text was “laconic and does not ‘discredit’ anyone”.
At the end of last week, five Petersburg deputies from the Smolni district were summoned by the police for “discrediting” the army; the amount of the fine is still pending, in the event of a repeat offense there is a risk of criminal proceedings.
Last Wednesday, the deputies, together with two other colleagues, called on the Duma, the lower house, to remove Putin from office; his decision to launch the “special operation” in Ukraine showed signs of high treason, among other things, because now Russian army units are being wiped out and “young, able-bodied citizens are being killed or disabled”.
District Commissioner sentenced to seven years imprisonment
Last Thursday, deputies from Moscow’s Lomonosov district called on Putin to resign: In countries where the leadership changes more frequently, “people live better and longer on average than in those whose leader only leaves the post feet first”.
The “rhetoric” of Putin and his “subordinates” have “actually thrown the country back into the Cold War era,” they complained: “Russia is feared and hated again, we are again threatening the whole world with nuclear weapons.” Local politicians, too, because a Moscow district deputy, Alexey Gorinov, who spoke out against the war in a session, was sentenced in July to seven years in prison for spreading “false news”; his colleague Ilya Yashin is being held under the same allegations.
“Golos” calls regional elections “not free”
The Lomonosov district deputies pointed out that their body would be re-staffed in the course of local elections. They had received their mandates in 2017 elections. Even then, it was difficult for members of the opposition to compete at all. Nevertheless, their candidates were able to achieve success, and even made up the majority of the deputies in the Lomonosov district and in some other districts of Moscow.
The much-harassed Golos (Voice) movement has now described recent local and regional elections, held Friday through Sunday in Moscow and elsewhere, as “not free” and stressed that it was under the current conditions in Russia “impossible to determine the real will of the voters”. In particular, “Golos” reprimanded the non-transparent use of online voting.
Official results brought the expected confirmations for Putin’s governors. The election officer, Ella Pamfilova, always appears with a “Z” pin on her blazer, the sign of the war and Putin supporters.