An award-winning teacher was reportedly fired from his school job in the Moscow region for running for public office as a candidate from an opposition party.

Alexander Demakhin, who was awarded the “Teacher of the Year” prize personally by Vladimir Putin in 2012, says in a Facebook post he was fired from his school job in the town of Sergiyev Posad after he began his campaign in municipal elections as a member of the opposition Yabloko party.

He wrote he spent 21 years at the school, first as a student and then as a teacher.

“I learned today that, starting Sept. 1, I no longer will be working at [my] Sergiyev Posad school,” he wrote. “The reason is my participation in Sergiyev Posad’s public life on a platform that makes the local authorities unhappy.”

In a press statement the head of the Sergiyev Posad district, Mikhail Tokarev, denied the claims, saying Demakhin had resigned voluntarily because he had been too occupied with work at a local theater.

On Thursday, the election commission will decide whether Demakhin can register as a candidate in the municipal elections.