The Kremlin has said activists seeking to draw attention to the problems of a Ural Mountains town by changing its name to "Putin" should find another way to address their grievances, Russian media reported.
The proposal to change the name of the town of Krasnokamsk in the Perm region is not an effective way to bring about change, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told regional news site V Kurse on Thursday.
He added that changing Krasnokamsk's name to Putin would raise false expectations among residents and that attempts should instead be made to ensure the town's prosperity regardless of its name.
The petition, advanced on Russia's community initiatives site roi.ru, argues that the name change would force municipal authorities to address the town's problems, such as the lack of clean running water. The campaign even carries a slogan: "Give Putin Clean Water."
But Krasnokamsk Mayor Yury Chechyotkin also said he saw no sense in renaming the town.
"My attitude toward the president is alright, but my attitude toward the historical name of the town is even more alright," the mayor was quoted as saying by V Kurse. "The decision of what to name the town was made collectively, and we should preserve it."
The name of Putin might be "better suited for some new town that is only just being built," Chechyotkin added.
The town's residents might agree with the mayor's reservations. The petition had only garnered 17 votes by Friday morning, in addition to four people who voted against it. It needs 3,541 votes by April 11 in order to be reviewed by municipal authorities, according to the community initiatives website.