Former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov has been brutally murdered in central Moscow.
The 55 year-old vocal opponent of Vladimir Putin led a number of opposition movements, and was preparing to lead the “Spring Anti-Crisis March,” next week, calling on Putin’s government to address political and socio-economic reforms in Russia.
Nemtsov was walking with a woman across a bridge when a car came past. A number of shots were fired and he was shot in the back.
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, speaking in Washington, DC, said he was “shocked and saddened” when he heard about the brutal murder of former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov in central Moscow.
Nemtsov was committed to a more democratic, prosperous, open Russia, and to strong relationships between Russia and its neighbors and partners, including the United States.
Russian commentators noted that he had not been particularly successful politically, in the past 10 years, as he had not won any elections.
“Nemtsov’s death comes as a terrible shock. It is particularly suspicious because he was killed two days before a major opposition rally in Moscow,” said Mark P. Lagon, president of Freedom House. “We mourn the loss of this extraordinary defender of democracy and freedom in Russia and strongly urge that the Russian government investigate this crime fully and transparently. The international community will be watching.”
Secretary Kerry said, “He served his country in many roles – in the federal government, in the parliament, as Governor of Nizhniy Novgorod, and as a political leader and activist. In every post, he sought to reform and open Russia, and to empower the Russian people to have a greater say in the life of their country. His absence will be deeply felt in Russia and around the world. The United States urges the Russian authorities to act expeditiously to investigate and bring to justice those responsible. Our thoughts are with the Russian people and with Mr. Nemtsov’s family and friends as we mourn his loss.”
After serving as deputy prime minister in President Boris Yeltsin’s government in the 1990s, Boris Nemtsov became a vocal opponent of Vladimir Putin’s illiberal rule. Among the opposition movements he led are Union of the Right Forces party, the Solidarity movement, and RPR-Parnas party.