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Russian Opposition Lawmaker Who Opposed Crimea Annexation Stripped Of Mandate

Russian oppositionist Ilya Ponomaryov

Russia’s State Duma has stripped Ilya Ponomaryov of his parliamentary mandate in the latest move taken against the opposition lawmaker.

The lower house, which is dominated by lawmakers from the Kremlin-backed United Russia party, voted 413-3 to pass the widely expected measure.

The lone Russian lawmaker to vote against the 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, Ponomaryov had already been stripped last year of his legal immunity.

That paved the way for a criminal investigation into allegations that Ponomaryov had embezzled money from the state-funded Skolkovo technological foundation, something he has repeatedly denied.

Ponomaryov, who now spends much of his time in Ukraine and the United States, told RFE/RL in Washington that the vote was taken in anticipation of parliamentary elections scheduled for September.

“That is a demonstration for future deputies to come, that they should be loyal and, especially in questions of foreign policy, they should never confront the president,” he said.

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