|Ilya V. Ponomarev|
Ilya Ponomarev at the 2012 Horasis Global Russia Business Meeting
|Born||August 6, 1975|
|Known for||opposition to Vladimir Putin|
|Political party||A Just Russia|
Ilya V. Ponomarev (born 6 August 1975) is a Russian politician. He is a member of the political party A Just Russia, a group opposing the policies of President Vladimir Putin, and as of 2012, had been elected to two terms in the State Duma. In September 2012, he was censured and temporarily banned from speaking in the Duma after calling Putin's United Russia a "party of swindlers and thieves". In October 2012, one of his aides, Leonid Razvozzhayev, was allegedly abducted from Kiev, Ukraine, while seeking asylum from charges that he had conspired with a Georgian politician and Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov to cause mass rioting.
Ponomarev studied physics from Moscow State University. After working for the now-defunct oil company Yukos from 1998-2001, he went on to earn a living as a technology entrepreneur. He is a self-described communist, and in 2003 worked as the chief information officer of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.
Opposition to Putin
In 2012, Ponomarev and fellow MP Dmitry G. Gudkov took a leadership role in street protests against Putin's rule. Following the 4 March presidential election, in which Putin was elected for his third term as president, Ponomarev accused the government of unfair vote-counting practices, stating that the election should have been close enough for a run-off. In May, Ponomarev criticized Putin's decision to retain Igor Shuvalov in his cabinet despite a corruption scandal. The following month, Ponomarev and Gudkov led a filibuster against a bill by Putin's United Russia party allowing large fines for anti-government protesters; though the filibuster was unsuccessful, the action attracted widespread attention. In July, he criticized the government response to the widespread flooding in Southern Russia, which killed 172 people.
In August 2012, Ponomarev made a speech in the Duma in which he called United Russia members "swindlers and thieves", a phrase originally used by anti-corruption activist Aleksei Navalny. One month later, Duma members voted to censure Ponomarev and bar him from speaking for one month. United Russia members also proposed charging him with defamation.
Leonid Razvozzhayev incident
In October 2012, the pro-government news channel NTV aired a documentary which accused Ponomarev's aide Leonid Razvozzhayev of arranging a meeting between another opposition leader, the Left Front's Sergei Udaltsov, and a Georgian official, for the purpose of overthrowing President Vladimir Putin. A spokesman for Russian investigators stated that the government was considering terrorism charges against Udaltsov, and Razvozzhayev, Udaltsov, and Konstantin Lebedev, an assistant of Udaltsov's, were charged with "plotting mass disturbances". Razvozzhayev fled to Kiev, Ukraine, where he applied for asylum from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, but disappeared after leaving the office for lunch. He resurfaced in Moscow three days later, where the website Life News caught him on tape leaving a Moscow courthouse, shouting that he had been abducted and tortured. A spokesman for Russia's Investigative Committee stated that Razvozzhayev had not been abducted, but had turned himself in freely and volunteered a confession of his conspiracy with Udaltsov and Lebedev to cause widespread rioting.
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- "Леонид Развозжаев признался в организации беспорядков на митинге 6 мая на Болотной площади в Москве" (in Russian). lifenews.ru. 22 October 2012. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- Brian Whitmore (23 October 2012). "The Seizure Of Leonid Razvozzhayev". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- Ilya Ponomarev. "Илья Пономарев о себе". cprf.info. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.