On Wednesday, the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg overnight actually lost the Just Russia – For Truth (SRZP) faction. All of its representatives announced a break in ties with the party, and their leader Marina Shishkina also left the post of deputy chairman of the city parliament, explaining that the SRHR agenda has changed in the direction that “does not correspond to our understanding of the ideas of justice.” Earlier, Mrs. Shishkina stated that she could not support the rapprochement between the chairman of the SRHR, Sergei Mironov, and the Wagner PMC. For the leadership of the St. Petersburg Social Revolutionaries, this decision came as a surprise, and Mr. Mironov suggested that those who had renounced his party give up their deputy mandates.
On April 5, Marina Shishkina announced her resignation from the post of vice-speaker of the Legislative Assembly from its rostrum. Parliament Speaker Alexander Belsky (United Russia) accepted her resignation. “I am going to take up a new political project, close to me in spirit and conscience, and I should feel free and confident in this field,” the deputy said.
A little later, at a briefing, Ms. Shishkina said that all the deputies of her faction were withdrawing from the SRZP. In the 2021 elections, the party won five seats in the Legislative Assembly: two in the list and three in single-member districts. Four deputies were members of the party, and one more, former Yabloko activist Mikhail Amosov, was only in the faction. Now all five will be non-partisan.
“The decision was not born today. We conferred for a long time and adopted it only when it became collegial,” Marina Shishkina said. “Each of us, it seems to us, joined another party — socialist, social democratic, on the shield of which the main idea was social justice and big problems little people. And we also joined the party of intellectual and professional politicians, born in an open, tolerant and enlightened St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, recently the current agenda of the party has changed in a direction that does not correspond to our understanding of the ideas of justice.” The former Social Revolutionaries feel “the need to choose a different political path,” the leader of the faction continued, and for her personally, “humanity is no longer enough” in the party rhetoric and agenda. “I go down to the stalls and go to my favorite party, the voters of St. Petersburg,” concluded Mrs. Shishkina.
According to Alexander Belsky, now there is a “difficult situation” in the parliament: there is a SRWP faction, but the deputies who represent it are not members of this party.
“Let’s see how it will work. The parliamentarians who left the party are legally elected deputies. They will continue to work, and we will listen to their opinion,” the speaker assured. Mikhail Amosov immediately invited his colleagues to join his Movement for Democratic Renewal, which he created after leaving Yabloko in 2018.
The chairman of the St. Petersburg branch of the SRZP, Nadezhda Tikhonova, told Kommersant that she had not yet seen any official statements from the deputies: “Yesterday, nothing foreshadowed such news. I myself learned everything from the media. They will remain deputies from the SRZP faction. What will happen next, time will tell. We, together with colleagues from the party bureau, will decide on cooperation with the faction. There will be a meeting, and then we will discuss how we can move forward.” Meanwhile, the leader of the SRZP, Sergei Mironov, has already invited the “rebellious” deputies to surrender their mandates. “The resignation of the vice-speaker of the Legislative Assembly looks noble. But it would be more correct and noble for them to lay down their deputy mandates. Because they got them thanks to the party,” Mr. Mironov told reporters.
According to the political scientist, senior lecturer of the Department of Political Psychology of St. Petersburg State University Alexander Konfisakhor, the decision of the deputies to leave the party was expected.
“Marina Anatolyevna (Shishkina. – Kommersant) did not support Sergei Mironov, who became close to Yevgeny Prigozhin and received a gift from him (a sledgehammer from PMC Wagner. – Kommersant). And then he said in the media that those who do not agree with his decisions cannot hold leadership positions in regional offices. When a person does not agree with the position of the party, he cannot stay with it. Marina Anatolyevna is an honest woman, a real fighter. She does what she believes in. This is the rare case when people did not go against their conscience. We can say that there are still women in Russian parliamentarians,” the expert concluded.
Recall that in early February, Marina Shishkina announced her resignation from the post of head of the regional branch of the SRHR. Then she explained to Kommersant that she had served two terms and that this decision was planned. Ms. Shishkina was also not included in the new composition of the bureau. In mid-March, members of the local branch elected Nadezhda Tikhonova, a former member of the Legislative Assembly and niece of Sergei Mironov, as the new leader.