Tom Balmforth, RFE/RL June 27, 2012
MOSCOW -- Gennady Gudkov recalls a time not so long ago when members of his A Just Russia party would lightheartedly banter and socialize with opponents in the State Duma after a parliamentary session.
But that camaraderie, the veteran lawmaker says, is now a distant memory. Even before disputed legislative elections in December led to unprecedented street protests and roiled the elite, the lower house of Russia's parliament had become a much less congenial place.
"For the first time in the State Duma, conflicts between factions have taken to the lobbies and the deputies' cafe. It was never like this," Gudkov says.
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Gudkov: From Kremlin-Loyal KGB Veteran To Opposition Leader