It’s Now 65 Russian Officials Who Are Demanding Vladimir Putin’s Ouster

Just days after Russian officials in St. Petersburg and Moscow openly called for President Vladimir Putin to give up power, the tally of elected officials demanding the Russian leader’s ouster has jumped to 65. That’s according to Kseniya Torstryem, one of the St. Petersburg deputies who is collecting signatures for the initiative. Now, municipal deputies from Samara, Yakutsk, Veliky Novgorod, and Voronezh have also joined the appeal. In an interview with the independent investigative outlet Verstka, some of the deputies in Moscow who launched the effort said they understand perfectly well that they won’t get a positive response from the Russian government. (The district council in St. Petersburg that first took the initiative and called for Putin to be tried for treason is already set to be dissolved on orders of a city court, and one of its members has been hit with a fine for “discrediting” the powers that be.) “We could’ve asked Putin for many things all these years—reform, adherence to the constitution, we also asked him to release [Alexei] Navalny. But it seems that after Feb. 24 there’s no point asking for anything other than his departure,” said Timofei Nikolayev, a municipal deputy in Moscow. Another municipal representative, Olga Shtatskaya, told Verstka that a “haze” had swallowed up the country that must be destroyed. She said she had “a bit of regret that we didn’t think to do this sooner.”

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