Vladimir Putin’s regime is serious about silencing government dissenters, to the point where his biggest Russian critic, Alexei Nalvany, will probably never see the light of day again. Nalvany has been jailed for nine years, and that’s obviously a lot worse than what happened to local officials who recently moved to give Putin the boot over his ongoing, near-failure of a war in Ukraine. Still, none of it is great.
The plot to overthrow Putin hatched itself in Smolninskoye, a district near St. Petersburg (Russia’s second-largest city), where the officials sought to put an end to the country’s economic turmoil, which has been largely wrought by the war, along with the resulting overall pariah status faced by Russia. Lawmaker Dmitry Palyuga blamed the dismal war for “harming Russia’s security and its citizens,” labelled Putin treasonous, and called for him to be removed from office. In response, the Kremlin brought the hammer down by summoning the officials to police headquarters, and punishment is now in the works. In short, the lawmakers’ district council will soon be no more, and financial repercussions are on the table. Via Reuters:
A group of St Petersburg local politicians who called for President Vladimir Putin to be sacked over the war in Ukraine faces the likely dissolution of their district council following a judge’s ruling on Tuesday, one of the deputies said. Nikita Yuferev said the judge decided that a series of past council meetings had been invalid, paving the way for it to be broken up by the regional governor.
Another council member, Dmitry Palyuga, said the same court then fined him 47,000 roubles ($780) for “discrediting” the authorities by calling for Putin’s removal. Court officials could not be reached by telephone for comment.
The war is, of course, still playing more than six months after Putin drop-shipped his troops into Ukraine. These days, they’re disguising themselves in order to flee Ukraine without detection, and even Russian State TV propagandists are calling the war a “failure” and urging Putin to abandon ship. So, will this local council eventually come back into existence? Hopefully, we’ll (eventually) receive an answer.