Putin endorses Obama, defends role in Syria and looks to eject critic from parliament

Gennady Gudkov, a former KGB officer, and one of a small group of Russian members of parliament to take part in demonstrations against Vladimir Putin, faces ejection from the legislature next week, Reuters reports.

Gudkov has used his seat in the State Duma to voice his opposition to the ruling United Russia party. He is now being accused of continuing business activities while a deputy minister, and could face two years in prison. Ejecting Gudkov would also strip him of parliamentary immunity and enable the authorities to prosecute him over allegations of illegal business activity. He says the charges are unfounded and part of a campaign of politically motivated harassment.

While Putin has not commented on the Godkov matter, this week he did defend Russia’s role in Syria, saying that “other nations” should re-evaluate their role in the uprising. He hinted that the Obama administration might be repeating mistakes made in the 1980s in Afghanistan by supporting rebel forces. He did, however, tell reporters that he supports a second term for the American president, saying Obama is more committed to missile defense than his Republican rival. Putin added that Mitt Romney was “mistaken” to call Russia “America’s greatest geo-political foe.”

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