Staunton, February 1 – Liberal and left-wing parties organized today a 150-person strong demonstration in Yekaterinburg calling on Russians to oppose Vladimir Putin’s proposed constitutional amendments, to demand that any vote on them be honest and transparent, and to seek the impeachment of the Kremlin leader.
Saying that the amendments represent Putin’s “usurpation” of power, the residents of the Urals capital became the first to go into the streets to demand that they be rejected and that the Kremlin leader be removed from office by constitutional means (znak.com/2020-02-01/v_ekaterinburge_sozdayut_komitet_po_borbe_protiv_putinskih_popravok_v_konstituciyu_rf)
No one was arrested nor were there clashes with pro-Putin and pro-amendment groups led by Tatyana Merzlyakova, the human rights ombudsman for the oblast who tried to convince those assembled that the proposed amendments “do not represent any threat to the constitutional order” because they do not touch on the first two parts of the Constitution.
Vyasheslav Postnikov, Sverdlovsk Olbast coordinator for Open Russia and the organizer of the meeting, says that “Putin now is introducing changes which will allow the president to exert still more influence on the composition of courts. To put it mildly, we already have questions about the independence of the courts.”
Moreover, “now, the basic principle of the division of powers is being violated. According to the Constitution, municipal self-administration is separated from state power, but now it is being inserted into the power vertical. In my opinion,” Postnikov says, “they simply take us for fools.”
City deputy Yuliya Galyamina told the meeting that “we must say no, not simply to these amendments but to everything which is holding out country back from development.” And Yabloko party organizer Irina Skachkova who also was involved in convening the meeting said, the powers want to “crown one man to rule forever.” She promised more meetings on this.
Mikhail Borisov, the local PARNAS Party leader said that Putin’s amendments “crudely violate the first parts of the Constitution” which are supposed to be inviolate. Asbest deputy Natalya Krylova says that all the amendments are designed to allow Putin to remain in power indefinitely.
A Yekaterinburg lawyer, Ivan Volkov, said he could not imagine how Russians could “defend the Constitution from the guarantor of the Constitution.” Because that is the case, he continued, he wants to see a case of impeachment launched against the current incumbent of the Kremlin. After the meeting, Volkov collected signatures on a petition demanding that.