Russia faces to watch: Gennady Gudkov

The BBC looks at some of the key figures emerging in Russia's political scene.

Gennady Gudkov

Gennady Gudkov is an MP who has defied his party's leadership to back the opposition protest movement.

Born in 1956, he is a veteran of the KGB and was once a member of the ruling United Russia party, although he ran his own Popular Party at the time. He joined Sergei Mironov's A Just Russia faction when it was formed in 2007 under the Kremlin's guidance.

In January, a video emerged in which he was secretly recorded telling fellow opposition member Vladimir Ryzhkov that their party leader had to be ousted after the March presidential elections.

Mr Gudkov said the video had been edited to compromise him. According to party sources, Mr Mironov wanted to have him thrown out but changed his mind for fear of causing a deeper rift within the party.

In November 2011, a fortnight before the parliamentary elections, Gennady Gudkov made a fierce speech in parliament, accusing the ruling bureaucracy and its United Russia party of running a deeply unfair campaign and preparing for the rigging of the vote.

After he was re-elected as MP, Mr Gudkov became an active member of the protest organising committee.