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Kremlin has reportedly banned senior officials from resigning under threat of criminal prosecution

Source: Meduza

The Kremlin has threatened to press felony charges against senior Russian officials who resign while the war is going on, according to the independent outlet iStories.

Citing an FSB agent, a political scientist who works with a Russian governor, and two sources close to the Putin administration, iStories reported that the Kremlin considers the desire to leave one’s post “betrayal” and has ordered the country’s civil servants to “show unity.”

One source said that “many” senior officials began wanting to resign after the start of the full-scale war, but “if everyone leaves, control will be lost.” There are some exceptions to the Kremlin’s rule, the source said, such as when officials suffer health problems or are linked to corruption.

At the same time, two sources close to the Putin administration told Meduza that the authorities made it difficult for most officials to resign even before Febuary 2022. In 2021, for example, RBC reported that Orenburg Governor Denis Pasler had asked to resign, but he remains in the post to this day. “Each case is decided on an individual basis. [Former Russian Post head Maxim] Akimov was allowed to leave, and [former Chukotka Governor Roman] Kopin was too. But the overall trend remains: officials are to stay in their positions,” one source told Meduza.

After Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, senior Russian officials were restricted from traveling abroad. In March 2023, the outlet Sistema reported that some officials and state-run company employees had been asked to “turn in their passports for storage.” In April, the outlet The Bell reported that government officials had been banned from leaving the country altogether.

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