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In rare rebuke, municipal lawmakers in several districts demand Putin’s resignation

Russia's President Vladimir Putin. (Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS/Abaca Press/TNS)
September 15, 2022

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Municipal lawmakers from 18 districts in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and the town of Kolpino near St. Petersburg have signed a petition demanding the resignation of President Vladimir Putin, saying his actions are “damaging Russia’s future and its citizens.”

Ksenia Tortstrem, a lawmaker from St. Petersburg’s Semyonovsky municipal territory, tweeted on September 12 that just under 20 lawmakers have already signed the petition and that she is continuing to collect more signatures.

Putin has kept an iron grip on dissent since he launched an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in late February, but cracks have appeared, especially with Ukraine claiming success on the battlefield in retaking territory from Russia in the northeast of the country.

Last week, municipal lawmakers from the Smolny municipal district in Putin’s native city of St. Petersburg approved a text to the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, demanding it charge Putin with high treason, saying his decision to launch a war against Ukraine has damaged the security of Russia and its citizens.

The lawmakers were later summoned by the police and charged with discrediting the country’s armed forces.

Lawmakers in the Lomonosov municipal territory in Moscow last week also rebuked Putin, urging him to resign, saying that a change in power was important for the country’s well-being.

In early March, Putin signed a law that calls for lengthy prison terms for distributing “deliberately false information” about Russian military operations as the Kremlin seeks to control the narrative about its war in Ukraine launched in late February.

It also makes it illegal “to make calls against the use of Russian troops to protect the interests of Russia” or “for discrediting such use” with a possible penalty of up to three years in prison. The same provision applies to calls for sanctions against Russia.