Two Russian lawmakers have been expelled from the Communist Party after calling on President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine. Leonid Vasukevich and Gennady Schulga were dropped from the party faction in the regional parliament, Newsweek Report
Both lawmakers were branded as traitors after their remarks at a meeting of Russia’s eastern Primorsky Krai on Friday.
Despite thousands of people being killed and injured during Russia’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine, it was a rare public display of dissent against Mr Putin, who has largely enjoyed public allegiance to the country’s political parties and government officials.
Mr Vasyukiewicz appealed to the Russian president to end the war and withdraw his troops from Ukraine, adding that he was speaking on behalf of three Communist Party colleagues: Schulga, Natalya Kachugova and Alexander Sustav.
“If our country does not stop military operations, there will be more orphans in our country,” lawmaker Leonid Vasyukiewicz read from the statement, according to a video of the meeting.
As soon as he read the petition, several lawmakers and the governor of the region, Oleg Kozemiako, tried to silence him.
Kozemiako accused Vasyukovich of “tarnishing” the reputation of the Russian military.
Russian artists, media personalities and a number of business tycoons have spoken out against the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, which has been hampered by unprecedented Western sanctions against Moscow.
But after three months of hostilities, there has been no apparent outpouring of dissent from Putin’s inner circle or top officials.
Russia has adopted legislation that could carry up to 15 years in prison for disrespecting the Russian military.