More and more Russian officials are urging Vladimir Putin to get the hell out of the Kremlin as Moscow suffered another series of humiliating defeats in Ukraine this weekend.
Just one day after several municipal deputies in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg called on the State Duma to try the Russian leader for treason, their colleagues in Moscow joined in and demanded he step down because his views are “hopelessly outdated.”
The open letter to Putin from municipal deputies in the Russian capital’s Lomonosovsky district started out by seemingly trying to let him down gently, telling him he had “good reforms” in his first term and part of his second.
Demands for Putin to Step Down
Moscow municipality has become the second Russian local authority this week to take the risk of calling for Vladimir Putin's resignation.
The letter addressed to the president by council deputies at Lomonosovsky Municipal District did not directly mention Putin's invasion of Ukraine, but did refer to how Russia had now become "feared and hated" while "aggression" has taken the country back to the "Cold War era."
The letter also made a pointed criticism of the length of Putin's presidency, describing how following local Moscow elections on Sunday, it was a good thing that the council's membership would change after five years.
"In countries with regular turnover of power, people, on average, live better and longer than in those where the leader leaves office carried out in a box," it said.
"Russia has again begun to be feared and hated, we again threaten the whole world with nuclear weapons," it added. "We ask you to relieve yourself of your post due to the fact that your views, your management model are hopelessly outdated and hinder the development of Russia and its human potential."
Journalist and Russia watcher Julia Davis tweeted how the council had voted on the motion and produced the letter, which was also reported by the independent Russian-language news outlet The Insider.
"Criticism of Putin is rare, & while the two motions were little more than symbolic statements, they represented a remarkable public rebuke," Davis wrote.
Criticizing Putin so brazenly carries a considerable risk where dissent can lead to imprisonment or worse. Police in St Petersburg have said they would charge lawmakers at Smolninsky District Council in Putin's home town after they called for the president to be charged with treason.
Military Turn of Events in Favor of Ukraine
Please consider CNN's September 11, 2022 Russia-Ukraine News
The war appears to be entering a new phase after Ukraine dealt a big blow to Russia's grip on parts of the east with a fast-moving offensive that saw Ukrainian troops enter the strategic city of Izium after five months of occupation.
Russian forces had to flee the strategic eastern city just five days after Ukrainian troops began a new offensive eastward through the Kharkiv region.
"Russians escaped and left weapons and ammo behind. City center is free," a spokesperson for the Bohun Brigade of the Land Forces of Ukraine said in a statement Saturday afternoon.
Sunday, the Ukrainian military's general staff said that Russian forces had abandoned the town of Svatove in Luhansk region, a town that until Saturday was still 40 kilometers (25 miles) beyond the known front line of the Ukrainian advance. Svatove has been an important hub on Russian resupply routes to the front lines further south - along the borders of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. "The occupiers have abandoned Svatove in Luhansk region," the general staff's office said in a Facebook post. "They rushed away in four Kamaz trucks, twenty Tigr AVs [armored vehicles] and stole over 20 cars of local residents."
Ukraine’s top military commander claimed that more than 3,000 square kilometers of territory has been retaken by the country's military since the beginning of the month. “Since the beginning of September, more than 3,000 square kilometers have been returned to the control of Ukraine,” Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said on Sunday. Ukrainian forces have begun to advance not only to the south and east in the Kharkiv region but also to the north, Zaluzhnyi said, adding “there are 50 kilometers to go to the state border.” CNN cannot independently verify Zaluzhnyi's claims.
Putin’s Problems Aren’t Just On the Battlefield
Politico reports Putin’s Problems Aren’t Just On the Battlefield
Ukraine’s rout of the Russian army in the northeastern region of Kharkiv presents President Vladimir Putin with a political as well as military headache.
On Sunday, Ramzan Kadyrov, the maverick and authoritarian leader of Russia’s Chechen Republic, accused Moscow’s military command of “mistakes” in the Kharkiv region, where Russian troops were hastily withdrawn from the strategically important town of Izyum and Kupiansk, a major railway junction near the border with Russia.
“Unless there are changes in the strategy for conducting the special military operation today or tomorrow, I will have to go to the leadership of the defense ministry, to the country’s leadership to explain the real situation on the ground,” he said in a recorded voice statement, published on his Telegram channel.
He is the highest level figure to openly slam the country’s top brass, but he’s far from alone.Sergei Markov, a Kremlin-connected political analyst and former parliamentarian with Putin’s ruling United Russia party, slammed Moscow’s anniversary celebrations on Saturday, during which Putin somewhat surreally inaugurated a new giant Ferris wheel before a night-time fireworks display, just as news of Ukrainian victories was spreading quickly.
Putin stepping down would likely, but not necessarily, be a very good thing. Everything would depend on who would be the replacement.
Also, desperate leaders don't easily bow to political pressure. Military coups are another thing.
On the whole this seems encouraging, but how will Putin react?
This post originated on MishTalk.Com.
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