Russian opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov said on Monday his decision to leave Russia was a temporary and tactical retreat because he could no longer practice politics effectively due to unprecedented pressure from the authorities.
Gudkov, who was held in custody for two days last week in a case he said was fabricated, said on Sunday he had left Russia after receiving warnings from people close to the Kremlin that he would be arrested if he remained in the country.
Gudkov, who sat in Russia’s lower house of parliament until 2016, had hoped to run for a seat again in September but said the pressure on him and his family from the authorities had made it impossible to pursue politics inside Russia for now.
“I want to return to Russia. This is some sort of a temporary retreat, to gather up strength and move on… into the battle,” he told Reuters in an interview after his arrival in Kyiv.
“If I did not leave, they would have started repression against me…