Russia: Mayors’ petition calling for Putin’s resignation has already collected 35 signatures.

At least 35 mayors from the Moscow and St. Petersburg regions have already signed a petition calling for Vladimir Putin to step down because of the war in Ukraine. The Information provided by Ksenia TorstremA deputy from the Semyonovsky municipality in St. Petersburg signed the petition.

“We, the municipal representatives of Russia, believe that the actions of President Vladimir Putin will harm the future of Russia and its citizens. We demand the resignation of Vladimir Putin from the post of President of the Russian Federation! ”, reads the text of the petition available online.

The document, originally signed by 18 political leaders, began publication last week. Other Russian politicians are encouraged to sign. According to Ksenia Torstrem, other signatures have already been received and are currently being verified.

The culminating wave of opposition to this petition came from last week: Dmitry Palyuga, a municipal deputy in Smolninskoye (St. Petersburg), introduced a resolution in the Russian parliament (Duma) to charge Putin with treason over the invasion of Ukraine. The resolution was approved by most of the municipal representatives present.

Dmitry Baliuka was detained by the police on suspicion of “discrediting” the authorities along with four other representatives from the district, but he was released this Friday – although, according to him, he can still pay the fine. decided by the court. Smolensk is the birthplace of Vladimir Putin.

On the same day that the results of the regional elections in the country became known, the candidates of the “United Russia” party, which heads the Kremlin, won their majority.

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According to the Russian Election Commission, all 14 regions of the country were won by candidates supporting Putin. In Moscow alone, pro-Kremlin candidates won more than 77% of seats, state news agency TASS reported.

But the election process was neither fair nor democratic, an independent election watchdog, “Colos”, underlined. Dozens of violations with ballot papers, intimidation of citizens and observers, vote buying and counting violations were reported.

Access to the media during the campaign was not equal for all candidates, the organization further pointed out, which spoke of a campaign and election law “not free and without equality”. “Under these conditions it is impossible to determine the true will of the voters,” he told “Kolos”. The “New York Times” recalls that the elections were held for three daysMakes them prone to fraud.

Some Russian citizens used the election to protest against Putin’s regime: “Russia without Putin” and “For peace” were some of the messages written on ballots, according to photos posted on the social network Telegram.

Many of the regime’s key politicians have fled the country since the war against Ukraine began. Others have been detained under laws passed by the Kremlin in recent months aimed at banning criticism of the Russian military and further restricting freedom of expression in the country. According to the human rights organization OVD-Info, more than 16,000 arrests have been made under the law since the start of the war.

A recent example is Yevgeny Roizman, a Putin critic and former mayor of Yekaterinburg, a Ural city of more than 1.5 million people. After being fined three times by the Russian judiciary, Roizman was arrested late last month, accused of “disgracing” the country’s armed forces. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

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Ramzan Kadyrov

Mikhail Svetlov – Getty Images

This Sunday, Chairman Chechnya (a Kremlin appointee and staunch supporter of Putin) has also been critical of the Defense Ministry’s military strategy in the invasion of Ukraine. “They made a mistake and I hope they will learn the necessary lessons. If no change in strategy is made today or tomorrow, I will be forced to talk to the Ministry of Defense and the leadership of the country, to explain to them the real situation on the ground,” Ramzan Kadyrov said on his Telegram channel. Part of the occupied territory Time for Ukraine to launch a counter-offensive to the rescue.

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