Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Putin condemned the killing of the American ambassador to Libya. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
MOSCOW — Russia's parliament is to vote on expelling a vocal opposition lawmaker who has angered the Kremlin with his scathing criticism and his participation in street protests against President Vladimir Putin.
Gennady Gudkov's expected expulsion is unprecedented in that for the first time Russia's political leadership is targeting one of its own, sending a clear message to other lawmakers that they too serve at the pleasure of the Kremlin.
Gudkov, like Putin a former KGB officer, is not your typical Russian protester. He is deputy chairman of the parliament's security committee and has enjoyed good relations with many police and KGB veterans.
If Gudkov loses his seat Friday, he would no longer be protected by immunity from prosecution and his supporters fear he could face arrest.