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Putin Critic Boris Nemtsov Shot Dead

Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was shot dead in Moscow today.
Ivan Sekretarev AP
Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was shot dead in Moscow today.

Boris Nemtsov, a former Russian deputy prime minister turned prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead today on a street in central Moscow, the Interior Ministry told the Interfax news agency.

The Russian-language news website Meduza reported that Nemtsov was walking with a woman near the Kremlin at the time of the attack. A spokesman told Interfax that at least seven shots were fired at Nemtsov from a passing car.

Police are investigating, Interfax said.


Nemstov, 55, was the head of the opposition Republican Party of Russia-People's Freedom Party. He served as governor of the Novgorod region and as deputy prime minister in the 1990s. As NPR reported in 2007, in the 1990s Nemtsov "was an icon of democratic reform, a crusading minister anointed by former President Boris Yeltsin to be his political heir."

He later became an opposition leader and sharp critic of Putin.

Last year Nemtsov was among opposition leaders who gathered in Moscow to protest the government's crackdown on independent media and opposition groups. As NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reported at the time Nemtsov likened the mood in Russia to "Germany of the 1930s when Adolf Hitler called anyone who disagreed with him a traitor."

"It's honestly like in the Hitler time," Nemtsov said at the time. "If you are against Putin, you are against Russia. If you are against Putin, you are American spy.

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