Russian political opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was gunned down in the streets of Moscow on February 27th. The 55 year-old Mr. Nemtsov, a first deputy prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s, was killed a day before his planned protest against the Russian government, as he walked from a restaurant after having dinner with his girlfriend, Ukrainian model Anna Duritskaya.
The United States condemns the brutal murder of Boris Nemtsov and calls on the Russian government to conduct a prompt, impartial, and transparent investigation into the circumstances of his murder and ensure that those responsible for this vicious killing are brought to justice. "Nemtsov," said President Barack Obama, "was a tireless advocate for his country, seeking for his fellow Russian citizens the rights to which all people are entitled." He also opposed Russia's aggressive actions towards Ukraine, holding a massive rally last spring to protest President Vladimir Putin's policies in Ukraine.
Mr. Nemtsov 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.
"I admired Nemtsov’s courageous dedication to the struggle against corruption in Russia," said President Obama, "and appreciated his willingness to share his candid views with me when we met in Moscow in 2009. We offer our sincere condolences to Boris Efimovich’s family, and to the Russian people, who have lost one of the most dedicated and eloquent defenders of their rights."
Boris Nemtsov committed his life to a more democratic, prosperous, open Russia, and to strong relationships between Russia and its neighbors and partners, including the United States. "His absence," said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, "will be deeply felt in Russia and around the world."