Gennady Gudkov is a Russian politician and businessman. The Moscow Times described him in 2012 as “one of parliament’s most vocal and charismatic critics” of President Vladimir Putin.

Gudkov was first elected to the State Duma on 18 March 2001, joining the People’s Party of the Russian Federation. Gudkov won the seat again in the 2003 and 2007 legislative elections.

Opposition to Putin

In 2007 Gudkov joined the populist Just Russia party, many of whose members opposed Putin.

In October 2011, Gudkov said that due to lack of free debate, “a huge negative energy among the public ready to explode any moment”. He aligned himself with the “non-systemic opposition”, which held anti-Putin sentiments. The following month, he broke ranks with his party’s moderate criticism of Putin and warned that major street protests could result if United Russia committed electoral fraud in the impending election. In the speech, Gudkov stated that “our elections are a mix of abuse of administrative resources and work going ahead at full speed to ensure falsification”.

Expulsion from Duma and emigration

On 15 September 2012, Gudkov was stripped of his seat in the Duma by a vote of 291 to 150. Gudkov called the vote a farce, saying “This is a reprisal. It is not a court.”

Gudkov relocated to Varna (Bulgaria) in 2019 in what he claimed to be “a precautionary measure.”