[guest post by Dana]
More bad news for President Putin – after the humiliation of Russian troops around Kharkiv – when deputies from 18 municipal districts signed a petition calling on him to step down:
“We, the municipal deputies of Russia, believe that the actions of its president Vladimir Putin are detrimental to Russia’s and its citizens’ future,” the petition said, which was posted online by Ksenia Thorstrom, a local deputy of the Semenovsky District in Saint Petersburg.
Additionally, and rather shockingly, a commentator was invited on state television and
uttered the “unspeakable”, criticising the war and saying Ukraine could not be defeated.
He called for peace talks during his appearance over the weekend.
The Russian operation in Ukraine right now is in crisis, there’s a lot of problems,” according to Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer.
Yet, an even bigger problem for the government seems to be brewing: Russians appear to be having doubts about the war in Ukraine:
The notable shift in public rhetoric and sentiment bubbling up in Russia suggests that belief is waning – something which could be a “game changer,” Mr Felgenhauer told the ABC.
“The Russian public are beginning to ask questions,” he said.
“That could be a very serious internal problem for the regime.”
While it may not yet pose any real threat to Putin and cronies, maybe it’s a start.
Meanwhile, it’s now being reported that those speaking out against Putin are facing the consequences of their actions:
A Russian politician who was part of a group that appealed to the country’s parliament last week to remove President Vladimir Putin from power on a charge of high treason, has been fined for “discrediting” the Russian government.
Dmitry Palyuga, a municipal deputy for Smolninskoe in St. Petersburg, was fined 47,000 rubles ($780), days after he and other members were accused of committing actions aimed at discrediting the Kremlin.
Additional council members who also signed the appeal are due in court this week.
And I’ll just leave you with this caution from a smart piece titled Putin Will Admit Defeat with a Victory Parade in Moscow by Dr. Orhan Dragas:
Treating Putin as an unwanted but unavoidable interlocutor/partner is what Putin expects from others, hopes for and benefits from. No one but him can profit if, even after his aggression against Ukraine, he remains a factor to be considered regarding any event on the world stage. Not even Russia will benefit – only Putin – though it seems too late for Russia to realize that.
Nevertheless, it is not too late for everyone else in Europe and the U.S., not even for those leaders who still cannot conceive of a future architecture on the border between Europe and Asia without Putin’s participation.
Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive against Russian invaders should be the final wake-up call from such delusions, as full victory may come sooner than many are ready for. If they still have any dealings with the Russian leader – and they do – they should end them as soon as possible, because after the day when the war in Ukraine ends “the day after Putin” will come.