- Title: First woman in space draws anger over bid to prolong Putin rule
- Date: 23rd March 2020
- Summary: PHOTO ON WALL SHOWING TERESHKOVA AND HEAD OF TUTAEV DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION DMITRY YUNUSOV
- Keywords: Constitution amendments Russian Constitution first in space river small town view voting woman in space
- Reuters ID: LVA004C69VVW9
- Location: TUTAEV AND MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- City: TUTAEV AND MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Duration: 00:00:04
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Government/Politics,Editors' Choice
- Story Text: Valentina Tereshkova was hailed as a hero when she became the first woman in space in 1963.
Now 83, she has become a hate figure for some Russians after this week putting forward a constitutional amendment that could allow President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036.
At least two online petitions have been launched against her, one calling for a street named after her to be renamed and another asking for one of her honorific titles to be revoked.
One petition, that has garnered more than 31,000 signatures, calls for Tereshkova to be stripped of her title of 'honorary citizen' of Tutayev, a town northeast of Moscow near where she was born.
."..Tereshkova actively took part in the show that some people are calling a state coup," the petition reads, adding she had discredited the honour of the town's residents.
Residents of Tutaev voiced their thoughts in support of and against Tereshkova and her recent actions. Resident Alexey Krivtsov said she had lost his respect and that of other people in the city.
But fellow resident Artem Suloev said she had earned the title of honorary citizen and it should not be taken away. Resident and blogger Liana Semenova said the town had bigger problems to worry about.
The head of the local administration Dmitry Yunusov called the petition an attempt by the opposition to attack amendments to the Constitution, and said he doubted whether the signatories were real Tutaev residents.
The author of the petition declined to be interviewed.
A household name in Russia, Tereshkova, who holds an array of state honors including a Hero of the Soviet Union medal, became the world's first female astronaut in June 1963, spending 71 hours in orbit on board a Soviet Vostok spacecraft.
A staunch backer of Putin and the traditional values he has espoused, she has been a lawmaker in the lower chamber of parliament since 2011.
Her amendment, since backed by both houses of parliament, allows Putin to ignore the current constitutional limits and run for president again in 2024, potentially opening the way for him to serve two more six-year terms consecutively.
The move has been applauded by Putin's admirers but critics have accused him of plotting to stay in power for life and have blamed Tereshkova.
Putin allies, including the leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, and the speaker of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, have rallied to her defence, praising her proposal and decrying the attacks on her as unpatriotic and orchestrated from abroad.
Tereshkova has branded her critics unpatriotic.
"I don't even want to talk about these people who don't love the country," she was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency.
(Production: Lev Sergeev, Dmitry Turlyun)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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- Embargoed:6th April 2020 10:52
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