Lawmakers call for Nemtsov killers to face justice


Over the past decade and a half, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has been an economic dynamo and a basket case, an imperfect democracy and a tightening tyranny, notes Foreign Affairs.

The case of Boris Nemtsov provides evidence of the latter, and the legacy of the murdered opposition leader is honored in a bipartisan resolution, H. Res. 697, introduced today at the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The resolution encourages the release of surveillance tapes in the area surrounding the crime scene, urges the United States Government to emphasize to Russia the importance of bringing Boris’ murderers to justice, and calls on the President to increase support for the causes for which Boris gave his life.

“For many years, I had the honor of working with Boris as he fought courageously for a more open and democratic society in Putin’s Russia, including as an indispensable supporter of the Magnitsky Act, said Ros-Lehtinen.

“Our resolution also calls for Nemtsov’s killers to be brought to justice and for an increase in American support for democratic and civil-society groups inside Russia—groups that have been under increasingly vicious attack by the authorities,” Engel added.

In an attempt to bring international attention to the case in order to put pressure on the Russian authorities and ensure that justice is administered, Zhanna Nemtsova, Nemtsov’s daughter and founder and president of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom, and Vladimir Kara-Murza, deputy leader of the People’s Freedom Party, organized a recent panel discussion (right), on the investigation at the Atlantic Council, the Institute of Modern Russia reports….

……featuring prominent Russia experts David Kramer, senior director for human rights and democracy at the McCain Institute for International Leadership; John Herbst, director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council; and Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy.

In his opening remarks, Gershman noted that “given [Boris Nemtsov’s] prominence as a Russian political leader, it’s deeply disturbing that the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation chaired by Alexander Bastrykin has consistently rejected requests … to qualify Nemtsov’s murder under Article 277 of the Criminal Code as ‘an attempt on the life of a public statesman.’”

Zhanna Nemtsova, who was forced to leave Russia last year due to threats and now lives in Germany, where she works for Deutsche Welle, noted that from the beginning she knew there would be no fair and objective investigation into her father’s murder in Russia. RTWT

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