Russian Officials Propose Overthrowing Putin, Charging Him With Treason

A group of Russian officials has appealed to the country's State Duma to remove President Vladimir Putin from power on the charge of high treason, a document shared by one of the Russian deputies who co-signed the proposal reveals.

In a tweet published on Wednesday by Nikita Yurefev, a municipal deputy for Smolninskoe in St. Petersburg, the official wrote that the Council of the Smolninskoye Municipal District "sent a proposal to the State Duma demanding to remove Putin from office based on the charges of high treason."

The treason charge appears to be directly related to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which in Russia is still referred to as a "special military operation" by the Kremlin and its propaganda machine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum, on September 7, 2022 in Vladivostok, Russia. A group of Russian officials has appealed to the State Duma to remove Putin from power, according to reports. Contributor/Getty Images

"His decision to start the Special Military Operation led to 1) deaths of the Russian servicemen, 2) problems in the Russian economy, 3) the expansion of NATO (the border with NATO has doubled!," a translation of Yurefev's tweet read.

The list of complaints against the Russian president continues in a follow-up tweet.

"Ukraine is militarizing and has received $38 billion worth of weapons to fight Russia. All these are the consequences of the decision to start the Special Military Operation. Putin's actions pose a threat to Russia's security. He should be fired! Adopted at a meeting of the Municipal Council of Smolninskoye."

Yurefev said that the draft decision put forward to the State Duma was introduced by Dmitry Palyuga, deputy of the Moscow Region Smolninskoye and signed by six other deputies besides Yurefev himself. According to Yurefev and Palyuga, the proposal was supported by a majority of deputies present.

"We think it's important to talk about what's going on and address different audiences with different arguments so that it all ends as soon as possible," Yurefev's tweet reads.

A copy of the document shows that the Russian officials considered the actions of Putin since February 24 evidence of "high treason." The deputies complain of the Russian economy suffering since the beginning of the war in Ukraine and of the Russian army being "destroyed," as young able-bodied citizens come home disabled or they die on the battlefield.

They also accuse Putin's actions of having favored the expansion of NATO towards the East and having accelerated the militarization of Ukraine, the exact opposite of what the so-called special military operation in Ukraine was supposed to achieve.

It's not the first time the Smolninskoye municipality has tried to get rid of Putin following the beginning of the war in Ukraine. The council had already addressed a letter to Putin in early March, calling the invasion of Ukraine a "sudden and unmotivated aggression against a neighboring state."

"The municipal council of Smolninskoye calls on you to stop the bloodshed. Immediately withdraw Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine and resign!" the letter read.

In an interview with Current Time TV, a Prague-based Russian-language television channel created by the U.S. organizations Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America, Palyuga said the chances that the proposal will be taken on by the State Duma were "nearly zero."

"But it is important for us that there are deputies in Russia and that their voice is heard, so that they do not think that everyone in Russia supports a special military operation. There are government officials at the municipal level who do not support a special military operation," Palyuga said.