The Komi republic-wide public forum on March 28 decided to start the collection of signatures up to the President Vladimir Putin for the head of the republic Sergei Gaplikov's resignation, as reported by the member of the forum organization committee Aleksey Kolegov.
The organizational committee consists of 29 people from Syktyvkar, Ukhta, Sosnogorsk, Kortkeros, Izhma, Pechora, Priluz and Udor districts. That was a social activist Alexander Shchigolev who proposed to vote non-confidence against the head of the republic at the meeting on March 23. As a result, 26 people voted for this proposal, three abstained. Now the members of the Forum plan to start collecting the signatures.
Among the claims they file to the current head are the following: the presence of the people from the “corrupted” Gaizer's team in the government, the elimination of benefits for combatants and low-income families, the growth of utility tariffs and the granting of tax breaks to Gazprom that cut off the republic's large cash proceeds. Gaplikov is also accused of having bribed voters during the last presidential election in Komi. The appeal says that the head of the Komi governs the republic on a “fly-in” basis.
“The signatures will be collected in all districts and cities of the Komi Republic, where we have our activists. That is almost everywhere. A signature sheet will be printed out. We will also hold public events (pickets and rallies). If possible, of course. We will collect signatures only in this ordinary way, we want to move away from the Internet a bit and involve people who are not familiar with it”, said Kolegov.
The first meeting of the republic-wide public forum was held in Syktyvkar on March 3. Social activists gathered from all over the republic to discuss the state of the economy, ecology, human rights and freedom of speech in Komi. At the same time, Alexander Shchigolev delivered a speech condemning the republic's leadership.
The activists also expressed no confidence in the head of the region during the Protest Week held in Komi in December 2017. Among the claims was the fact that the government ignores public initiatives on the impact of mining companies in order to reduce oil spills. Also, people were outraged by the attempt to abolish Komi language classes as a compulsory subject in schools.