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Gudkov Appeals to Supreme Court Over Lost Duma Seat

Gudkov addressing a protest rally last year near leftist Sergei Udaltsov. Igor Tabakov

Opposition politician Gennady Gudkov told a Supreme Court hearing on Monday that the decision to take away his seat in the State Duma last September was politically motivated and represented a settling of political scores.

"If I had been told before that the State Duma would turn into an instrument for settling political scores, I wouldn't have believed it. But the removal of my Duma mandate was politically motivated," he said.

Gudkov, a member of A Just Russia and a key figure in the anti-Kremlin protest movement, spoke on the first day of Supreme Court hearings on his complaint over the Duma's decision to deprive him of his seat for allegedly engaging in illegal business activity.

According to the former deputy, the Duma committee that made the final decision on ousting him from parliament never cited any concrete basis for the early termination of his powers.

"In all the ratings, I was always one of the top 10 most active deputies, both in the sphere of legislative activities and at plenary sessions," Gudkov said. "My work in the State Duma simply can't be mixed with commercial activity. My own personal staff, which I maintained, fulfilled more work than several committees."

Duma representative Vladimir Ponevezhsky responded in court by saying the check had examined records of Gudkov's income and activities and was prompted by materials provided by the Investigative Committee.

Gudkov was stripped of his Duma seat on Sept. 14 after the Investigative Committee said it had evidence of his involvement in unlawful entrepreneurship.

Gudkov has maintained since then that the decision was connected to his opposition activity.

The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision in the case on Tuesday.

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