04:36 - Source: CNN
Video: CNN looks back on 6 months of Russia's war in Ukraine
CNN  — 

Several elected officials in Russia have been summoned by police after they called for the impeachment of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a rare display of dissent in the country, local deputies from the Smolninskoye municipality in the St. Petersburg area appealed to the Russian Duma to impeach the President, for what they called crimes of high treason.

The author of the appeal, Dmitry Palyuga, posted it on Twitter, alleging Putin was responsible for “(1) the decimation of young able-bodied Russian men who would serve the workforce better than the military; (2) Russia’s economic downturn and brain drain; (3) NATO’s expansion eastward, including adding Finland and Sweden to “double” its border with Russia; (4) the opposite effect of the “special military operation” in Ukraine.”

Palyuga and fellow Deputy Nikita Yuferev later posted on Twitter a summons issued to them by the St. Petersburg police for their “discrediting of the ruling establishment”.

Palyuga later reported that two of the four deputies summoned have been released by the police and all are expected to face fines.

Kremlin has tried very hard to stifle any criticism of its invasion of Ukraine.

After launching a full scale invasion in late February, the Russian government moved swiftly to shut down the remnants of Russia’s free press and introduced a new law that imposed severe criminal penalties for spreading “fake” information.

According to OVD-Info, an independent group that tracks detentions in Russia, 16,437 people have been arrested or detained for anti-war activism in Russia since the start of the invasion.