Boris Nemtsov: The Man Who Was Too Free


In the shadow of the red brick Kremlin walls, an informal shrine marks the spot and the memory of Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and President Vladimir Putin’s loudest critic, The Washington Post reports.

Something remarkable is happening in a small, luxurious movie theater….A film is showing that recounts, in unflinching detail, the rise and fall of Russian democracy through the story of Nemtsov’s political career, from a whiz-kid regional governor considered presidential material to the political margins of an illiberal society dominated by Putin.   …That the film “The Man Who Was Too Free” (above), was allowed to be made, much less shown across Red Square from the Kremlin, came as a shock to its creators, Mikhail Fishman and Vera Krichevskaya.

Fishman speculates that allowing the film to be shown may be evidence of a slight thaw in Putin’s icy grip, perhaps tied to next year’s presidential election, “sort of a little present to those who are so tired of him staying in power for decades.”

But other analysts are skeptical that the regime is liberalizing.

“A thaw is the dream of liberals who believe that the all-powerful will castrate itself and thus a means for the additional legitimation of the powers that be,” says Liliya Shevtsova* (right), a Moscow-based analyst for the Brookings Institution.

Vladimir Putin is the personification of the system of Russian autocracy at the point of its decay. Its vitality is directly disproportional to the length of each such personification, she writes in 15 Paradoxes of Putin’s Russia.

Corruption. Under an autocracy, when power and property are fused, corruption is impossible. Therefore Aleksay Navalny is wrong: Prime Minister Medvedev isn’t corrupt: he is a systemic politician.

HT: Paul Goble.

*A contributor to the National Endowment for Democracy’s Journal of Democracy.

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