Gudkov lost his seat in Russia's State Duma

The State Duma deprived Gennady Gudkov of his seat in the lower house of parliament on Friday, which resulted in demonstrations outside the Duma headquarters in Moscow.

Police arrested one of the ex-deputy's adversaries, who was shouting, "Gudkov, come out!", an Interfax correspondent reported from the scene. Organizers of the anti-Gudkov action named the detainee as Anton Demidov, leader of the Rossiya Molodaya (Young Russia) party.

The protesters practically filled up the sidewalk section outside the building, and some were standing in the Duma parking lot next to it.

Gudkov supporters and enemies were arguing with each other.

Neither the pro- nor the anti-Gudkov action had any permission from the authorities as required by law.

The Gudkov supporters, who had white ribbons on their chests - a liberal opposition symbol, - were pointing out to police that, just as their own protest, the anti-Gudkov demonstration was unauthorized and were insisting on its dispersal. However, the police were turning a deaf ear.

Meanwhile, police reinforcements were being pulled toward the building and watching what was happening.

A number of political analysts interviewed by Interfax believe the State Duma's decision to strip A Just Russia faction member Gennady Gudkov of his parliamentary mandate is in fact the executive authorities' warning to members of the elite, including the ruling United Russia party.

"Undoubtedly, this is a warning, which should be viewed as a signal to members of the elites, notably those who are seeking closer ties with the non-systemic opposition. If a prominent person is a deputy, he can lose their mandate," Alexei Makarkin, a first vice-president of the Center of Political Technologies, told Interfax on Friday.

At the same time, there are no reasons to expect that similar decisions would be made in relation to other parliamentarians following Gudkov's expulsion from the Duma, Makarkin said. "A signal to the elites has been given, and this is enough for the time being," he said.

As for the expected legislation banning parliamentarians and government officials from possessing property abroad, this declared measure can scare the elites but not society on the whole, Makarkin said. "Possessing real estate abroad is the same as having some insurance in case of losing a struggle with rivals. And now the elite members are being deprived of such insurance. But this scares the elites, not society. Society in general does not like members of the elite," Makarkin said.

Dmitry Orlov, the general director of the Agency of Political and Economic Communications, agreed that the cancellation of Gudkov's parliamentary mandate is a warning but suggested that this concerns not only the parliamentary opposition but absolutely everyone, including United Russia members, if they violate the law on parliamentarians' status.

"I believe similar decisions are possible in relation to other members of very different factions as well. And I cannot rule out that this might affect United Russia members, too," Orlov told Interfax.

"All this means that […] if a person occupies quite a high-ranking position in Russian institutions, his activities should be precisely in Russia's best interests," he said.

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