Just over two years ago, Russian opposition politician and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov was shot and killed as he walked across a bridge within sight of the Kremlin. A long-time advocate for democracy and transparency in government, Mr. Nemtsov had also been a vocal critic of Russian political and military interference in Ukraine.
Although five people from Chechnya were arrested for his murder, some observers believe the government’s investigation into the crime was flawed and that the person or persons who organized the assassination have not been identified or apprehended.
On the eve of the second anniversary of his death, thousands of Russians took to the streets of Moscow and other cities, as they did last year, to pay tribute to Mr. Nemtsov. On February 27, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft visited the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge where Mr. Nemtsov was killed and read a message there.
“I am here today with my Deputy and my staff along with my diplomatic colleagues representing the President and people of the United States to honor the memory of Boris Nemtsov, a man whom we knew as a government official, a politician, and for many Americans a friend,” said Ambassador Tefft. “His family, loved ones, and his friends remain in our thoughts. We are here today to honor his memory, the values for which he stood, and to express our hope for the future.”
U.S. State Department Acting Spokesperson Mark Toner also issued a statement on the anniversary. “Though Boris Nemtsov is gone, his spirit lives on in Russians young and old who seek to build a more democratic and prosperous society,” Mr. Toner wrote. “We call once more on the Russian Government to ensure that those responsible for Boris Nemtsov’s killing are brought to justice.”