In Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg, of all places, MPs are voting for a motion that is attracting international attention: seven politicians voted for Vladimir Putin to have been guilty of high treason since the beginning of the Ukraine war. And this appeal must now be discussed in the Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament. In the “Stern” the non-party initiator Nikita Juferew describes the idea and the dangers behind the action.
On September 7, deputies came up with the idea “to make an appeal to the State Duma with a proposal to remove the President of Russia from office on the basis of high treason,” the interview reads.
“We made a conscious decision to apply Putin’s rhetoric ourselves,” says Yuferev, describing the strategy. As early as March, the district parliament voted to stop the war of aggression – but the presidential administration did not respond to the letters from Saint Petersburg. That is why one uses “Putin’s rhetoric, which is addressed to his audience and which is also understandable for his audience. So that these people might start thinking.”
The deputies present Putin’s war aims. Putin called for Ukraine to be demilitarized. “So we say: Look! Ukraine has received arms and equipment worth $38 billion since February 24.” Putin also sees NATO as a threat to Russia. Yuferev argues that after Finland’s accession, “the land border between the NATO states and Russia will double.” The appeal also addresses the numerous Russian war victims.
The vote was only a matter of luck: five non-party politicians, including Yuferev, and two opposition politicians from the Joblonko party accepted the motion – three deputies abstained. With the ten deputies they reached the minimum number of votes for the validity of the resolution.
A report with personal stories about the fateful day
Spicy: The deputies of Putin’s party “United Russia” and the chairman did not come to the vote, “they boycotted the meeting.” That’s the only way there were no dissenting votes and the necessary majority. Asked about speculation as to whether Putin’s deputies indirectly supported the motion, Yuferev says: “I can’t say whether they did it on purpose or stupidly.”
Yuferev does not expect the appeal to have a great effect in the State Duma: “We understand that you will not suddenly burst into tears and end the special operation immediately. But the demands and appeals have an effect on the people.” The politicians hope to persuade doubting “Putinists” to reject the war.
But it is also a sign to the opposition members, who have to reckon with severe penalties in Russia: “With actions like this, we show these people that they are not alone!” He refers to surveys by the independent opinion research center “Lewada”. According to this, in May 72 percent of Russians still supported the Ukraine war – in September the value fell to 48 percent approval.
With the protest note to the Duma, the St. Petersburg politicians also hope to avoid penalties: “We have convened an official meeting of a government agency, in accordance with all rules and regulations,” he emphasizes. “We are only proposing that the procedure provided for by law be used against him.” But the police have already launched investigations into five of the MPs for “discrediting the incumbent government”.
Yuferev believes that a conviction could soon follow. Those in power will “punish someone. Especially since our district still has a symbolic value. Putin grew up in our district.”