Gennady Gudkov

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Gennady Vladimirovich Gudkov
March of Peace (2014-03-15, Moscow), Gennady Gudkov.JPG
Gennady Gudkov at rally in Moscow, 15 March 2014
Personal details
Born (1956-08-15) August 15, 1956 (age 58)
Kolomna, Moscow Oblast, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Russian
Political party People's Party of the Russian Federation (2001—?)
United Russia (?—2007)
A Just Russia (2007—present)
Children Dmitry and Vladimir
Alma mater Kolomna State Pedagogical Institute (1978)
Occupation politician, businessman
Known for opposition to Vladimir Putin, expulsion from State Duma
Military service
Allegiance  Soviet Union
Service/branch Committee for State Security (KGB)
Federal Security Service (FSB)
Rank Lieutenant colonel

Gennady Vladimirovich Gudkov (Russian: Генна́дий Влади́мирович Гудко́в; b. 15 August 1956 in Kolomna, Moscow Oblast, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union)[1] 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.[2]


Gudkov received a degree in languages from Kolomna State Pedagogical Institute in 1978.[1][3] He joined the KGB, the Soviet Union's national security agency, in 1981, working there for the next decade and finishing at the rank of lieutenant colonel.[3] He later held a post in the Federal Security Service until 2001.[4]

Duma career[edit]

Gudkov was first elected to the State Duma in a by-election of the Kolomna 106th District on 18 March 2001, joining the People's Party of the Russian Federation.[1][2] Gudkov won the seat again in the 2003 and 2007 legislative elections.[1]

Gudkov was serving as deputy chairman of the parliamentary Committee on Security during the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis, in which 40-50 Chechen Islamist separatists took over a theater holding 850 people.[5] He blamed the failure of security forces to prevent the attack on a systematic destruction of state security institutions following the fall of the Soviet Union.[6] In 2004, he denied allegations that Russia was responsible for the death of former Chechen president Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, stating that the KGB's overseas assassination squad had long been disbanded.[7]

Following the Nazran raid, in which Chechen rebels killed 90 people at police facilities in Ingushetia, Gudkov supported President Vladimir Putin's firings of top military officials, stating, "[t]he general staff made serious mistakes regarding the military structures' actions in Chechnya."[8] He stated that "This will go on until we ourselves learn how to prevent terrorist acts, until we learn how to carry out effective operations to destroy terrorists"[9] and called for better pay for security forces to attract better quality personnel and prevent corruption, stating that the latter may have contributed to the Beslan school hostage crisis.[10] He also supported a law allowing undercover security officers to commit illegal acts such as buying guns or drugs in the course of their duties.[11]

Opposition to Putin[edit]

In March 2004, following a weak performance by the People's Party in the recent legislative elections, Gudkov succeeded Gennady Raikov as chairman of the party.[12] Gudkov later became a member of Putin's United Russia party,[13] before switching in 2007 to the populist Just Russia party, many of whose members oppose Putin.[3][14] In September of that year, he criticized a bill supported by United Russia allowing Gazprom, Transneft, and other corporations to train and arm private security forces, calling it a Pandora's box.[15] In October, he complained that United Russia "will not allow opponents" and that Russia was becoming a single-party state,[16] and in December 2008, he sought to amend and clarify a Duma bill greatly expanding the definition of treason.[17] In March 2009, he criticized legislation by Dmitry Medvedev to ban political parties with less than a 7% nationwide vote from parliament, saying that "only an incorrigible optimist could consider that a pro-democracy move".[18]

In October 2011, Gudkov said that due to lack of free debate, "a huge negative energy among the public ready to explode any moment".[19] 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.[20] 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". Footage of the speech became a popular video on Russian blogs.[21]

Over the next year, Gudkov became a frequent participant and leader in public protests against Putin.[3] In January 2012, a secret recording of a conversation between Gudkov and politician Vladimir Ryzhkov was released in which the two appeared to discuss how to undermine other anti-Putin forces; the two called it a plot to sow distrust between opposition groups.[22] In June, Gudkov's son Dmitry Gudkov, also a Duma deputy, led a filibuster against a bill allowing large fines for anti-government protesters.[23] Gennady Gudkov also spoke against the bill, stating that by removing outlets for protest, the legislation was putting Russia on "a sure path to a civil war".[24] The Economist described the filibuster as "the most striking act of parliamentary defiance in the Putin era".[25]

Following Gudkov's opposition, his private security firm, Oskord, became the target of "a campaign of raids and investigations from a variety of bodies, from the fire department to the Moscow architectural committee". Permission for its guards to carry firearms was revoked, making its usual security operations difficult. Gudkov estimated in July that he had lost 40% of his business.[25]

Expulsion from Duma[edit]

In August 2012, a special committee of the Duma was formed to investigate allegations that Gudkov had violated parliamentary rules by making money from the construction firm Kolomensky Stroitel while also holding his seat.[3][26] The Prosecutor General and Investigative Committee presented evidence that Gudkov had broken anti-corruption laws, and the minutes of a Kolomensky Stroitel meeting with Gudkov's signature was given as evidence of his business activity.[2]

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."[13] A Just Russia party leader Sergei Mironov described Gudkov's expulsion as "unlawful revenge".[13] United Russia Deputy Andrei Isayev stated that Gudkov had to be stripped of his seat, arguing, "People expect fairness: Everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. We cannot undermine that hope of our people."[2]

Analysts described the vote as part of a broader crackdown against Putin's critics, noting the recent charges against anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny.[13][20][26][27] The Economist wrote that "like, in a way, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the question is not whether Mr Gudkov ran afoul of Russian law but rather why Russian law seems to matter so little to his peers who keep themselves in the Kremlin’s better graces."[3]


Gudkov is married and has two sons, Dmitry and Vladimir.[1] Dmitry is also a State Duma deputy with the Just Russia party.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e Биография Геннадия Владимировича Гудкова (in Russian). Archived from the original on 27 October 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Alexander Bratersky (17 September 2012). "Duma Kicks Out Kremlin Critic". The Moscow Times. Archived from the original on 27 October 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g J.Y. (17 September 2012). "Why Gennady Gudkov was expelled from the Duma". The Economist. Archived from the original on 27 October 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  4. ^ Nataliya Vasilyeva (14 September 2012). "Russia expels anti-Putin lawmaker; who's next?". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 27 October 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Eric Engleman (24 October 2002). "Rebels Threaten Hostages in Moscow". Associated Press  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Peter Baker and Susan B. Glasser (29 October 2002). "Putin Takes Hard Line on Terror, Stays Silent on Use of Deadly Gas; Russian Leader Vows to Pursue Chechens' Sponsors and Financial Backers". The Washington Post.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  7. ^ Mark McDonald (27 February 2004). "Two Russian Agents Charged in Death of Former Chechen President". Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Maria Danilova (19 July 2004). "Russian President Shakes Up Top Military". Associated Press  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  9. ^ David E. Hoffman (28 October 2012). "Chechen Conflict Now Rages Beyond Russia's Expectations". The Washington Post.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  10. ^ Robert Siegel (28 October 2012). "Analysis: Inefficiency and corruption bedevil attempts to prevent more terrorist attacks in Russia". National Public Radio  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  11. ^ Oksana Yablokova (9 November 2004). "Bill Lets Undercover Police to Break the Law". St. Petersburg Times.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  12. ^ Oksana Yablokova (31 March 2004). "Unsuccessful Parties Turn on Leaders". The Moscow Times.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Russian Duma expels anti-Putin MP Gennady Gudkov". BBC News. 14 September 2012. Archived from the original on 27 October 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  14. ^ Fred Weir (14 September 2012). "Russian Duma expels anti-Putin lawmaker. Sign of a coming crackdown?". The Christian Science Monitor.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "Moscow's mercenaries". Foreign Policy.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). 1 September 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  16. ^ Owen Matthews and Anna Nemtsova (22 October 2007). "Power To The Party". Newsweek.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  17. ^ Michael Schwirtz (22 December 2008). "Familiar fear as Russia redefines treason Law could silence government critics". International Herald Tribune.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  18. ^ "Minor parties may get nominal Duma seats". Associated Press  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). 27 March 2009. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  19. ^ Owen Matthews and Anna Nemtsova (17 October 2011). "Back to the U.S.S.R". Newsweek.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  20. ^ a b Alissa de Carbonnel (6 September 2012). "Unlikely Putin foe faces ouster from Russia assembly". Yahoo!. Reuters. Archived from the original on 27 October 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  21. ^ "Shocked Putin greeted with boos and jeers at the big fight". The Independent.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). 22 November 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  22. ^ Daniel McLaughlin (20 January 2012). "Putin in broadside against his critics and opponents". The Irish Times.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  23. ^ David M. Herszenhorn (23 June 2012). "Working Russia’s Streets, and Its Halls of Power". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  24. ^ Vladimir Isachenkov (5 June 2012). "Russian parliament approves harsh bill on protests". Associated Press  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  25. ^ a b "Gudkovs, bad cops; Russian politics". The Economist.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). 7 July 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  26. ^ a b Sergei L. Loiko (27 October 2012). "Russian opposition lawmaker ousted from parliament". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 27 October 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  27. ^ Ellen Barry; David Herszenhorn (15 September 2012). "Undaunted by Arrests, the Opposition Marches Against Putin". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 

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