Rare petition calls for Putin to step down

Russian President Vladimir Putin is known for using dictatorial tactics, with critics receiving long prison sentences or dying under mysterious circumstances.

Yet, as the Washington Examiner pointed out this week, that hasn’t stopped 30 Russian city officials from calling on Putin to step down. 

The petition

That petition is the work of Xenia Torstrem, a municipal deputy in St. Petersburg’s Semyonovsky District. It criticizes Putin over the war with neighboring Ukraine that has been raging for seven months.

“We, the municipal deputies of Russia, believe that the actions of President Vladimir Putin harm the future of Russia and its citizens,” a translation of the petition reads.

“We demand the resignation of Vladimir Putin from the post of President of the Russian Federation!” it added.

The Examiner reported on Tuesday that Ukrainian forces have managed to reclaim nearly all of their country’s northern Kharkiv province from Russia, marking a major turnaround in the conflict.

During a Pentagon press briefing on Monday, a senior U.S. military official told reporters that “Russian forces have largely ceded their gains to the Ukrainians and have withdrawn,” with some having “moved over the border into Russia.”

Big win for pro-Putin candidates

The Examiner noted that elections took place this past weekend in Russia, which saw “sweeping victories” for pro-Kremlin candidates.

Yet despite Putin supporters performing well in the first vote held since Russia invaded Ukraine, critics contend that the outcome was a product of fraud.

They include the Golos movement, which describes itself as “the leading association of Russian citizens for independent election monitoring.”

Golos published a report on its website which alleged multiple examples of suspicious activity. This included one polling location in the city of Gelendzhik reporting that 421 ballots were cast despite only 39 voters turning out.