In memomy of Boris Nemtsov

Today marks nine years since opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was assassinated near the Kremlin in Moscow. He sacrificed his life for the principles of democracy and freedom, becoming a victim of Putin's regime.

On February 27, 2015, Boris Nemtsov, a prominent political opposition leader, was assassinated near the Kremlin in Moscow. Throughout his life, Nemtsov challenged the Russian authorities, denouncing their violent power structure, rampant corruption, and severe human rights abuses. He vocally opposed Russia’s actions in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, foreseeing the threat that Putin’s regime posed to Europe’s security.

Nemtsov’s murder was orchestrated by individuals connected to Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic. Similarly, journalist Anna Politkovskaya, of Novaya Gazeta, was killed by Chechen assailants on October 7, 2006. Several journalists from Novaya Gazeta have lost their lives investigating government corruption, torture, and other crimes. Politkovskaya’s murder was linked to her opposition to Putin’s “Anti-terrorist operation” in Chechnya.

Despite Russia’s moratorium on the death penalty, politically motivated executions of opponents and critics of the regime have occurred sporadically. These crimes consistently go unpunished, with the perpetrators’ sponsors remaining unidentified.

Since Nemtsov’s assassination, Putin’s regime has increasingly tightened its grip on power, curtailing basic human rights through a series of restrictive legal amendments. Civil society groups and regime opponents are labeled “foreign agents” and “extremists.” Even Alexey Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation has been branded as a terrorist organization.

The imposition of martial law within Russia, despite the absence of formal warfare, underscores the regime’s authoritarian tendencies. According to Proekt media outlet, over 116,000 individuals have been prosecuted for opposing the authorities since 2018 alone.

Alexey Navalny, after enduring years of persecution, physical assaults, poisoning, and imprisonment, was assassinated on February 16. Like Nemtsov, he sacrificed his life in the struggle for democracy and freedom. Despite the risks to their health and lives, civil society groups in Russia continue to resist the regime. The NHC stands in solidarity with these courageous individuals until impunity ends and justice prevails.

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Inna Sangadzhieva

Director for Europe and Central AsiaEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 97 69 94 58
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Dag A. Fedøy

Director of CommunicationsEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 920 54 309Twitter: @dagfedoy
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