Municipal deputies for the Smolninskoye District in St. Petersburg plan to submit a petition to the State Duma (the Russian parliament) to charge Russian president Vladimir Putin with high treason for unleashing the war in Ukraine. Deputy Dmitry Palyuga announced the intention on Twitter.
According to Palyuga, “the majority of deputies in attendance supported the decision.” In conversation with The Insider, he specified that seven out of ten voted in favor of the initiative.
According to its sponsors, Putin’s actions since the beginning of the “special military operation” fall under Article 93 of the Russian Constitution, which stipulates for the president's impeachment based on charges of high treason or other serious crimes brought against them by the State Duma.
The president's decision to attack Ukraine is “detrimental to the security of Russia and its citizens”, the petition reads, because the Russian army is losing its fighting-fit units and its servicemen become disabled. The authors of the petition also point out that the withdrawal of foreign players from the Russian market and the “brain drain” accelerated by massive emigration are bound to leave a dent in “the Russian nation's economic wellbeing”. The deputies also underline that NATO is pushing its frontiers eastward, contrary to the announced goals of the special operation, while Ukraine is receiving state-of-the-art weapons.
“While the Russian president declared the demilitarization of Ukraine as one of his goals, we are witnessing the opposite happen. This is not to say that we stand in full support of the goals declared by President Putin, but even in his own terms, he is harming Russia's national security,” Palyuga explained to The Insider. “We want to let people know that there are deputies who are opposed to the current policy and who believe that Putin is harming Russia. We also want to let them know we are not afraid to speak out.”