Three years ago, in February 2017, Vladimir Kara-Murza was rushed to a Moscow hospital, where he suffered massive organ failure, forcing doctors to place the Russian democracy activist on a ventilator, put him in a coma, and purify his blood. The symptoms were almost identical to what had happened to him two years earlier, RFE/RL reports:
In a lawsuit being filed February 25 in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Kara-Murza is suing the FBI to obtain records and results of the tests, charging that the U.S. Justice Department — of which the FBI is a part — was improperly withholding them. “Vladimir wants to know what they found,” Kara-Murza’s lawyer, Stephen Rademaker, told RFE/RL. “Any person who was poisoned wants to know what he’s been poisoned with.”
“Under the Chestnuts Square,” which houses Russia’s embassy in the Czech Republic, will be renamed in honor of reform activist Boris Nemtsov in a Feb. 27 ceremony commemorating the former Russian deputy prime minister’s 2015 assassination in Moscow, the BBC reports. A promenade will also be named to honor slain journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was gunned down by five men in Moscow in 2006.
The murders of Politkovskaya and Nemstov demonstrated an inexorable process of the centralization of power in the Kremlin, the repression of human rights and independent journalism, and the use of regime propaganda to demonize all opponents and to whip up nationalist hatred, said National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman.
How about declaring Putin Russia’s “Supreme Leader”? Or maybe enshrining the country’s nuclear weapons in the constitution? …But it’s a road map of where Russia has moved under Putin, who ordered the constitutional redo last month as part of an apparent plan to keep his grip on power after term limits force him out of the presidency in 2024.
Many of the amendments were “crazy proposals” mainly from people who opposed the liberal, humanist constitution of 1993, said Vladimir Ryzhkov, a historian and opposition politician.
“Many people around Putin and many people in this country, they hate the  constitution because it’s too liberal for them,” Ryzhkov said. “Now that Putin opened this Pandora’s box of changing the constitution, all these conservative, reactionary, nationalistic, xenophobic, anti-European, anti-liberal political forces feel the possibility to kill this constitution, to kill this liberal spirit.”
The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission holds a hearing on “Human Rights in Russia on the 5th Anniversary of the Nemtsov Assassination,” examining the state of human rights since Boris Nemtsov, a high-profile opposition leader, democracy advocate and fierce critic of corruption and abuse of power under Vladimir Putin, was shot to death on a bridge near the Kremlin.
RFE/RL takes a must-view pictorial look at some of the key moments in Nemtsov’s life.
Panelists: Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. and Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., co-chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission; Melissa Hooper, director of foreign policy advocacy at Human Rights First; Jason Morton, policy analyst for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; Daniel Balson, director of advocacy for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International USA (and National Endowment for Democracy Penn Kemble fellow); and Kate Watters, executive director of Crude Accountability.
10 a.m: February 27, 2020. Venue: 2200 Rayburn House Office Building, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC. RSVP: 202-225-3599, firstname.lastname@example.org