In a rare display of dissent in the country, local deputies from the Smolninskoye commune in St. Petersburg area to the Russian Duma to accuse the president of what they called high treason.
The author of the appeal, Dmitry Palyuga, posted it on Twitter and claimed that Putin was responsible for “(1) the decimation of young healthy Russian men who would serve the workforce better than the military; (2) Russia’s economic decline and brain drains; (3) NATO’s eastward expansion, including the addition of Finland and Sweden to “double” its border with Russia; (4) the opposite effect of the “special military operation” in Ukraine.”
Palyuga and fellow deputy Nikita Yuferev later posted on Twitter a summons issued to them by St. Petersburg police for their “discrediting of the ruling establishment”.
Palyuga later reported that two of the four deputies summoned have been released by police and all are expected to be fined.
The Kremlin has tried very hard to stifle any criticism of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
After launching a full-scale invasion in late February, the Russian government moved quickly to shut down the remnants of Russia’s free press, introducing a new law imposing severe criminal penalties for spreading “false” information.
According to OVD-Info, an independent group that tracks detentions in Russia, 16,437 people have been arrested or detained for anti-war activism in Russia since the start of the invasion.