Local leaders team up to challenge Russian President Vladimir Putin



CNN
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russian Military failure in the war with Ukraine According to two local politicians who are taking a stand against him, President Vladimir Putin is fueling new protests.

Lacking a quick win, inability to take Kyiv and now successful counter-attacks by Ukraine While Russia has lost so many soldiers and so many equipment, it has caused anger and discontent that Putin’s opponents are trying to take advantage of.

“There is a point where liberal groups of people and pro-war groups of people can have the same goal. It could be a goal for Putin to resign,” said Dmitry Paluga, a local politician in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg, that Demand for impeachment of the President,

Dmitry Paluga, a member of the Smolninskoye municipal council, appears in a St Petersburg court after being accused of defaming Russian officials.

While liberals like him opposed the invasion of Ukraine on humanitarian and legal grounds, Paluga told CNN he now sees an opening to garner more support.

“We wanted to target some people who had previously supported Putin and now feel betrayed,” he said.

“The Russian army is being destroyed right now. Therefore, we lose people, we lose weapons and we lose our ability to defend ourselves. … Not even Russian propaganda can hide it, that [the] The Russian army is being defeated in Ukraine.”

Criticizing the Kremlin could be a tough question in Putin’s Russia.

His most outspoken critic, opposition leader Alexey NavalnyFirst poisoned and then put in jail. another political Rival, boris nemtsov, was shot in the back by the hitman, who did not say who had sent him. Writer and politician Vladimir Kara-Murza jailed after speaking out against Ukraine invasion, Kremlin hunts ahead tightening your grip on free speech What Russia calls a “special military operation”, not a war.

Palyuga said Putin’s new critics are too careful to stay within the law.

Ksenia Thorström, a municipal deputy or local councilor in St Petersburg, also bought into that approach.

“One of the things that [a] The municipal deputy may be making this public statement,” she told CNN. “We really don’t have the authority or power to do anything – even at the local level, we are strongly opposed by “Yedinaya Rosiya”. [Putin’s United Russia party], For example, even simple initiatives like cycle lanes are opposing us.

“None of my initiatives have ever been accepted. But I can make a public statement and that’s what I did.

Ksenia Thorström is now in Finland.  She said she would be more scared if she was still in Russia.

Thorstrom circulated his version of Paluga’s petition to fellow lawmakers and now has dozens of signatures, she said.

He said the problem was not only with the military in Ukraine, but also with influence within Russia.

“The Russians have become poor, they are not welcome anywhere. Then there is a lack of facilities, supplies, ”she said.

“Now people will be poorer and more miserable. And I don’t know what the future holds for an isolated country.”

Thorstrom knows from personal experience that Putin still has a lot of support. She said that her own mother believes in the propaganda of the Kremlin and is “Living in some parallel reality where Putin is making Russia great again.”

“She believes in the Nazis in Ukraine,” she said of her mother. “She believes that [the] West wants to harm Russia because [the] The West needs Russian resources, [that the] The West does not want Russia to be strong.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, attending a naval parade here in St. Petersburg in July, has said that Russia has

Thorstrom said he thought Putin was irrational but still hoped he could agree or agree to step down.

She said she was happy to play a public role against Putin, partly because she had already left Russia. Thorström is currently safe in Finland, having completed talks with Sweden to join NATO following the invasion of Ukraine.

Palyuga has not left Russia and he admits that he faces some risk to speak up. He has already been accused of defaming officials under a law passed in March, but the court’s decision to fine him only $700 actually made him feel better.

“Maybe we are too small a politician in the realm of Russia. So maybe that is why we are not worried about poisoning or anything like that,” he said.

Nevertheless, the lack of serious response to even lower-level public servants’ condemnations is unusual, although the Kremlin has warned that the line between acceptable debate and illegal criticism is “very thin”.

While Palyuga has zero hope that national politicians inside Russia’s Putin-controlled parliament Duma will raise his issue, he already claims some success.

Putin's United Russia party holds power in the State Duma, the lower house of the country's parliament.

“We wanted to show the people that they are not alone, that there are other people and even councilors who are against this military operation and against Putin and we want to unite the people and give them some want to give hope,” he said.

Since he first called on parliament to impeach Putin, Paluga said he has received many messages of support from people who are willing to pay money to pay fines and even hide them when needed. are also offered.

But what he did not get was the expected stream of hatred.

“I only got two messages where people accused me of some bad things,” he said, even though news of his action became widespread.

“Two messages a very small amount of hate and a lot of support to me. I really didn’t expect that to happen.”

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