Anti-Putin official outlines plan to unite Russians behind ousting bid

Ukraine: Putin can be 'accused of treason' says Palyuga

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The anti-Kremlin official Dmitry Palyuga is on a mission to force Vladimir Putin out of power. With his fellow municipal deputies from St. Petersburg, deputy Palyuga is trying to rally support behind their legal bid to get the Russia’s lower chamber to charge the Russian leader with high reason for launching the war in Ukraine. As Russians are growing dissatisified with the Ukraine war, Mr Palyuga is confident the Russian people can bring about a regime change.

Speaking to Express.co.uk of his strategy to unite people behind his effort, Mr Palyuga said: “I think that the idea in people’s heads is that Putin can be accused of treason – that’s one of the ways we can treat [impeach] him. 

“So, I think it’s more about changing mindsets of people rather than just forcing Putin to resign right now.

“We obviously will need some time because right now, during the Ukrainian counteroffensive, more and more people start to understand that something is really going wrong.

“We were against this military operation since the first day of it but now, some people are starting to realise.”

However, he is aware Putin’s impeachment will not happen overnight. He is now gathering public support behind his coup with a unifying call.

“The next logical step for me is to mobilise people – I don’t mean a military mobilisation,” Mr Palyuga joked before adding: “but to mobilise people to sign some wider petition – not from municipal councils but from all the people – and call Putin to resign.”

He also emphasised how important it was to rally Russians from different war beliefs “because we have three large groups of people right now: a small one is pro-war, another small one is anti-war and the biggest”, he said, is the undecided one “who don’t really have an opinion. They don’t trust anyone”.

“That’s how Putin’s propaganda works. It demobilises people, it sends the message that you shoudn’t trust anyone like either Putin or any other heads of goverment.”

The appeal he filed to the State Duma with his council, he says, aims to bridge the divide between the pro- and anti-war camps.

“I think that if we get rid of Putin, it [the Ukraine war] will immediately end because nobody is interested in it,” Mr Palyuga said, as Russian civilians are not profiteering from the ongoing conflict. 

According to Russia’s Constitution, the State Duma can start impeachment proceedings with one third of deputies backing the indictment on the basis of high treason or another grave crime. To effectively remove Putin from office, Russia’s lower and upper chambers must each pass the motion with two-thirds of the votes. 

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Though he acknowleges members of the State Duma will not indict Putin at present, Mr Palyuga believes popular pressure can sway both chambers’ views and bring about his ouster.

“I would say that probably people on the federal level will see other people’s reactions, and they will at some point probably decide that it’s safer for them to get rid of Putin.

“I think that people around Putin right now understand fully where they are, that they are in a really bad situation. 

“And I think that they dream of getting rid of Putin right now.”

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