“Your proposal has been considered.” St. Petersburg deputies demanded that Putin be charged with treason and fired

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In early September, the deputies of the St. Petersburg municipal district “Smolninskoye” turned to the State Duma with a proposal to dismiss Vladimir Putin and charge him with treason for the unleashed war in Ukraine. Within a week, the deputies were accused of “discrediting the army” and fined, and the court started the procedure for dissolving the city council (for the fact that the deputies allegedly did not hold meetings).

Medouza spoke to one of the initiators of the appeal, a municipal deputy Nikita Yuferevon how politicians in St. Petersburg decided to take this step despite the direct threat of criminal prosecution.

I’m 34 years old. I’m married, an economist, and I have two grandsons and two cats. He entered politics in 2019, at the time of the municipal elections [in St. Petersburg]. Then in the municipality “Smolninskoye” we formed a coalition of opposition deputies.

The battle between the toad and the viper helped us get around United Russia – members of United Russia from different clans had strained relations in St. Petersburg. Our municipality was very dear to everyone and they fought. And our team got to know the residents – we knocked on apartments, handed out business cards and discussed their problems. Against the background of disputes between United Russia, people came to vote for us.

Usually, the work in a municipality is more about landscaping: where to put benches and what the play areas will look like. People turn to MPs with specific issues, mostly related to housing, communal services and landscaping. We react, send requests, then people plug a hole in the asphalt.

Now in our district there is such a political situation that 12 out of 20 deputies are opponents, and another eight are open or latent United Russia. But to completely change the executive power in the municipality, we have to change the head of the MO. And for that you need at least 14 votes.

Our interim leader is [United Russia] Grigory Rankov. He is, to put it mildly, not the best person. He worked in the municipality for five years, and in 2019 he won half as many votes as in previous elections, and he lost them. People didn’t vote for him. And he spoils us a little, constantly interferes with our work – for example, he does not mean our version of the budget. Because of these selfish little sabotages, we failed to build a systematic work in three years.

[Besides] United Russia and its friends from time to time try to dissolve us. There were already about thirty courts on this subject. They try to declare our meetings illegal and our decisions not accepted. But we showed our work in court, provided video recordings of meetings, minutes, quorum – [and the municipal council continued to work].

Now we [municipal deputies] often talk about federal issues. It turns out that the whole political field in Russia was cleaned up: someone was expelled from the country, and someone was imprisoned. There is no one among the deputies of the State Duma to speak. Yet people worry about these things [problems that go beyond the municipality boundaries, so the municipal deputies have to take the rap.

As for our attitude towards the current government, even when the amendments to the Constitution were being adopted, we addressed the citizens that “the best amendment is Putin’s resignation.” And when the “special operation” began, on the morning of February 24, we took an application for an anti-war rally to Smolny. We received a harsh refusal very quickly; we were summoned for a conversation with the prosecutor’s office, a case was opened against some of our fellow co-organizers – so many left Russia.

Then at the [anti-war] rallies, everyone was beaten indiscriminately, so we decided that it was dangerous to carry out uncoordinated actions. We – as citizens – went to them, but again, as MPs, we had to look for safer ways to express our position – so as not to put people at risk.

Therefore, on March 2, we decided to hold an open town meeting – the law and regulations allow everyone to be invited. Surprisingly, a large number of people came, around 100 people. Behind us was a crowd of riot police and police vans. Under these conditions, we accepted by majority vote a letter addressed to Putin by the city council asking that the “special operation” be completed (we never received a response). Already in August, my colleague, deputy Dmitry Baltrukov, received a protocol of “discredit” for having organized this “rally” (there has not yet been a trial on this subject).

Then statistics emerged indicating that millions of people had already left Ukraine, the deaths of thousands of civilians had already been documented, and hundreds of children were among them. I laid out these statistics in a letter and sent it to Putin – demanding that he give the order to end the “military operation” for humanitarian reasons. I received a response to this letter from the presidential administration:Your proposal has been studied.


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