Request to remove Putin: “We are showing that we are many”

Request to remove Putin
“We show that we are many”

A group of municipal deputies from St. Petersburg are causing a stir with their request for the impeachment of Russian President Putin. One of the initiators now describes the motives and goals of the risky venture. And explains how you want to beat Putin with your own weapons.

In St. Petersburg, a group of deputies want to table an appeal in the State Duma that calls on the lower house of the Russian parliament to accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of high treason and remove him from office. One of the initiators, Nikita Juferev, explains in an interview with “Stern” that the push was intended to counteract the ubiquitous propaganda in Russia. “With actions like this, we show people who don’t support Putin that they are not alone,” Yuferev said.

On September 7, at a meeting, the group of municipal deputies decided to submit their appeal. It is the council of the St. Petersburg district of Smolninskoye – of all places, where Putin grew up. “In our opinion, since the beginning of the special operation on the territory of Ukraine, the actions of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin have shown signs of a crime described in Article 93 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation – high treason,” reads in the appeal.

Yuferev explains that the formulations were based on Putin’s own rhetoric, which is therefore also understandable for his audience. “So that these people might start thinking.” For example, the argument that Russia is threatened by NATO. “So we say: Look. As a result of the President’s decision, the land border between the NATO countries and Russia will double now that Finland has joined the alliance,” Yuferev said.

“Hoping for a certain effect”

Ten of the 20 MEPs appeared at the Council meeting. The members of the ruling party “United Russia” and the chairman boycotted the meeting, Yuferev said. In the end, seven deputies voted for the high treason appeal to the Duma – two of them belonged to the Yabloko party, five were independent, including himself.

However, Juferew has little hope that he and his fellow campaigners will be successful with the application. But they hoped for a certain “effect”: “The propaganda drums into people’s heads that everyone in Russia supports Putin, that everyone in Russia wants the special operation to continue,” said Jurefev. Thus, those who thought otherwise would think they were alone. “With actions like this, we show these people that they are not alone. That we are many. That there is an entire government agency in St. Petersburg that does not approve of the special operation and wants Putin’s resignation in this context.”

He refers to a survey by the Levada Institute from early September, according to which only 48 percent of those surveyed supported military action in Ukraine. “In May, 72 percent of those questioned were still in favor of military activities. (…) That’s a colossal development.” Therefore, one should not follow the propaganda rhetoric and believe that everyone supports the special operation.

“Abiding by all rules and regulations”

Isn’t he afraid? “We are actually very cautious people,” Yurefev said. Do not use terms that violate Russian law. “We deliberately use the word special operation, as prescribed.” In addition, he and his group adhered to all rules and regulations. “And in this question, we’re not asking for anything illegal to be done against the President. We’re only suggesting that the procedure prescribed by law be used against him.” The procedure for impeachment is laid down in the constitution. “From a legal point of view, we are clean.”

Nevertheless, the police are already investigating five of the supporters of the application for alleged “discrediting of the Russian armed forces”. Jurefev still sees a small chance of not being convicted. “But in case there’s a fine, we’re prepared. It’s worth it.”

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