Friday, September 14, 2012
MOSCOW — Russia’s parliament today expelled a lawmaker who turned against President Vladimir Putin, paving the way for similar action against others who have joined the opposition movement in a clear sign that the Kremlin is intensifying its crackdown on political dissent.
The 293-150 vote to expel Gennady Gudkov from the State Duma also removes his immunity from prosecution, and his supporters fear he could face arrest. Gudkov, a KGB veteran like Putin who once represented the main Kremlin party in parliament, helped stage a series of street protests against Putin’s rule last winter.
Gudkov called the vote “political revenge and extrajudicial repression,” and described the accusations — that he was involved in a business in violation of parliament rules — as a sham.