A group of municipal deputies in Moscow’s Lomonosovsky district took an unusual step this week on behalf of their constituents. They held a televised meeting on Thursday where they discussed some of the challenges currently facing both their district and Russia as a whole. The final result of the meeting was a public call for Vladimir Putin to resign from his office for the good of the nation. There was reportedly no hint of any talk of revolt or overthrowing the current government from the deputies. They simply pointed out that a number of Putin’s policies have not been productive and the citizens of Russia were dealing with economic and social turmoil as a result. With that in mind, they suggested that it would be in the best interests of the nation for Putin to step aside and give someone with fresh ideas a chance to set things right. Those of you who are familiar with Vladimir Putin’s history can likely picture all of the friends of these deputies slowly edging sideways toward the nearest exit. (Radio Free Europe)

Municipal deputies in the Moscow district of Lomonosovsky have appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to resign, saying “everything went wrong” since the start of his second term and they believe a change of power is necessary for the sake of the country.

The deputies posted their protocol decision on the Lomonosovsky district’s website, including a 30-minute video of their meeting on September 8.

In their appeal, the deputies emphasize that the aggressive rhetoric of Putin and his subordinates has thrown Russia back into the Cold War era. They disputed economic data showing a doubling of the country’s GDP and said the minimum wage did not increase to the level declared by the government.

The appeal also noted that educated, hard-working Russians have fled the country in large numbers. The stability that Putin has promised over the past few months has similarly failed to materialize. They described Putin’s “management model” as being “hopelessly outdated,” producing inefficiencies in handling municipal challenges they face.

This all sounds like a very rational, well-reasoned critique that avoids any over insults or threats. It’s just an analysis of the results that Putin’s current policies have produced and a request for a new direction that might better serve the people of the country. Of course, given the former KGB boss’s history of “negotiating tactics,” I hope they’ve all checked to ensure that their life insurance policies are up to date. People who criticize Putin have a way of mysteriously developing terminal career issues, if not outright defenestration.

They probably should have taken a hint from the group of local lawmakers in St. Petersburg who issued a similar complaint earlier this week. They went a bit further, however, calling on the State Duma to charge Putin with high treason over his decision to invade Ukraine. The seven lawmakers were summoned to police headquarters to receive subpoenas on a charge of discrediting Russia’s armed forces. Curiously, no one seems to know where some of the legislators are at the moment.

It’s true that rumors regarding Putin’s health have been swirling about for some time now and he’s been cutting ties with all but the closest members of his inner circle. But that doesn’t mean that Mad Vlad is on the verge of being removed from office. A wounded beast is always the most dangerous one in the herd, and Putin is less likely than ever to tolerate dissent. There exists a very lengthy list of people who have similarly attracted Putin’s attention in a negative fashion who are no longer available for comment.

Perhaps there is at least a bit of positive news that people in the west can take from these events. No matter how authoritarian you think your government may be behaving, even in places like Canada and the United States, it’s still not as bad as Russia. When you start saying things that aren’t approved by the ruling party they might send the FBI to investigate you and drum up some charges or drag you out of your home in your underwear and handcuffs before dawn. But at least they’ll get a warrant first and you won’t simply disappear into a forced labor camp or be mysteriously poisoned in some industrial accident. Well… at least not yet, anyway.

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