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Russian Opposition Deputy Expelled From Regional Assembly

A lawmaker in Russia's northwestern Pskov region known for his relentless criticism of the Kremlin has been expelled from the local legislature, a move denounced by the opposition as politically motivated.

The Pskov regional assembly overwhelmingly voted to strip Lev Shlosberg, a member of the Yabloko opposition party, of his mandate.

Critics accuse him of unlawfully defending his NGO in court after authorities declared it a "foreign agent" under a controversial new law.

During the September 24 vote, lawmakers called Shlosberg a "mouthpiece of the [U.S.] State Department" and said he "betrayed" Crimean residents.

Shlosberg has strongly criticized Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and its support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

He was severely beaten up by unidentified assailants last year after publishing an investigative report into the death of two Pskov paratroopers suspected of having been killed while fighting Ukrainian government forces in eastern Ukraine.