Posted: Sep 14, 2012 3:35 AM
Updated: Sep 14, 2012 3:36 AM
MOSCOW (AP) Russian lawmakers have expelled a former KGB colonel turned opposition lawmaker who has angered the Kremlin with his scathing criticism and involvement in street protests against President Vladimir Putin.
Gennady Gudkov's removal from the lower house paves the way for similar action against other opposition lawmakers, sending a clear message to members that they serve at the pleasure of the Kremlin.
The 291-150 vote with three abstensions to strip Gudkov of his State Duma seat also means he will no longer be protected by immunity from prosecution. His supporters fear he could face arrest.
Gudkov denounced the move as "political revenge and extrajudicial repression."
Gudkov, like Putin a former KGB officer, served as a deputy chairman of the parliament's security committee and has enjoyed good relations with many officials.