It’s been seven years since Boris Nemtsov paid the ultimate price for service to his country.
On February 27, 2015, the Russian opposition leader and critic of President Vladimir Putin was shot multiple times in the back as he strolled over the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge with his Ukrainian girlfriend.
The murder investigation that followed led to the conviction of five Chechen men for carrying out a contract killing, but not to the identity of the person who ordered the assassination. That remains unknown to this day. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe have called on Russian authorities to conduct a new and transparent investigation, but the authorities have rejected that call.
Mr. Nemtsov was a reformer and anti-corruption activist who served his country in many roles – in the federal government, in parliament, as Governor of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, and as a political leader, intent on helping the Russian people have a greater say in the governance of their country. He was a vocal critic of Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea in 2014 and was one of the leading supporters of a demonstration against Russia’s Ukraine policies, a demonstration that was scheduled to take place in Moscow on March 1 -- two days after he was assassinated.
In a statement marking the anniversary of his death, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price noted that “among Nemtsov’s final projects before he was killed in 2015 was a report exposing Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, which President Vladimir Putin had denied.” Spokesperson Price said that although police ransacked Nemtsov’s apartment and confiscated his writings after his death, “they could not erase his legacy.”
Boris Nemtsov’s legacy and spirit are evident, Mr. Price declared, “in the courageous citizens of Russia who have publicly condemned the Kremlin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, including petitions signed by hundreds of journalists and municipal leaders condemning the invasion and the thousands of peaceful anti-war protestors detained by Russian authorities in recent days. As the Kremlin attempts to spread disinformation and suppress dissent,” he said, “we deeply respect those in Russia who follow Boris Nemtsov’s example and bravely speak up for what is right.”