Senior members of the ruling United Russia party, which has a parliamentary majority, said they were planning to demand the resignation of Sergei Mironov, speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament over his criticism of polices conducted by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Mironov, a former strong supporter of the Putin-Medvedev poitical tandem, is now the leader of the opposition A Just Russia party, and openly criticized anti-crisis measures introduced by the government in an interview on Russian television on Monday.
"Considering that he [Mironov] represents St. Petersburg's legislative assembly, where we [the United Russia] have the majority, I believe it is logical and necessary...to initiate [Mironov's] resignation procedures," said Andrei Vorobyov, head of United Russia's central executive committee.
Vyacheslav Volodin, secretary of United Russia's general council presidium, said Mironov's remarks showed his "dishonesty and inconsistency in regard to Vladimir Putin - a person who has done so much for the country and its people."
Another senior United Russia official, Andrei Isayev, said Mironov's criticism reflected "his personal moral crisis."
"I think it would be fair and right for him to resign from his post [as the Federation Council speaker], which was given to him by United Russia and nobody else," Isayev said.
The Russian economy was hard-hit by the economic crisis in late 2008, with the Russian government devaluing the ruble and cutting spending.
The government also introduced a set of unpopular measures in 2010, including higher communal services bills, increased prices for food and medicines, and higher public transport fares.
These measures came under strong criticism from the opposition, including the Communist Party and A Just Russia party.
Moscow, February 3 (RIA Novosti)