Boris Nemtsov

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This name uses Eastern Slavic naming customs; the patronymic is Efimovich and the family name is Nemtsov.
Boris Nemtsov
Борис Немцов
Boris Nemtsov 2003 RussiaMeeting.JPG
Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation
In office
28 April 1998 – 28 August 1998
President Boris Yeltsin
Prime Minister Sergey Kirienko
Viktor Chernomyrdin (acting)
First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation
In office
17 March 1997 – 28 April 1998
Serving with Anatoly Chubais
President Boris Yeltsin
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
Preceded by Vladimir Potanin
Alexey Bolshakov
Viktor Ilyushin
Succeeded by Yuri Maslyukov
Vadim Gustov
Personal details
Born Boris Efimovich Nemtsov
(1959-10-09) 9 October 1959 (age 55)
Sochi, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Political party Union of Right Forces (1999–08)
Solidarnost (since 2008)
PARNAS (2010-12)
Republican Party of Russia - PARNAS (since 2012)
Religion Russian Orthodox
recorded March 2013

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Boris Efimovich Nemtsov (Russian: Борис Ефимович Немцóв; born 9 October 1959) is a Russian statesman and liberal politician, a co-chair of the RPR-PARNAS political party, one of the leaders of Solidarnost movement and an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin.

Nemtsov may be best known as the 1st Governor of the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast (1991–97). Later he worked in Government of Russia as Minister of fuel and energy (1997), Vice Premier of Russia and Security Council member from 1997 to 1998. In 1998 he founded the Young Russia movement. In 1998, he co-founded the coalition group Right Cause and in 1999, he co-formed Union of Right Forces, electoral bloc and subsequently political party. He was elected several times as Russian parliament member. Nemtsov was a member of Congress of People's Deputies (1990), Federation Council (1993-1997) and State Duma (1999–2003). He also worked as Vice Speaker of the State Duma and the leader of parliamentary group of Union of Right Forces. After a split in the Union of Right Forces in 2008, he co-founded Solidarnost. In 2010, he co-formed coalition For Russia without Lawlessness and Corruption (was refused in registration as party). Since 2012 Nemtsov has been co-chair of Republican Party of Russia – People's Freedom Party (RPR-PARNAS), a registered political party.[1][2]

He is a candidate of physico-mathematical sciences. Known as an author of several publications criticising Putin's regime and an active organizer and participant of Dissenters' Marches, Strategy-31 and rallies «For Fair Elections».

Early life[edit]

Boris Efimovich Nemtsov was born on 9 October 1959 in Sochi to Efim Davidovich and Dina Yakovlevna (née Eidman) Nemtsov.[3] His mother was Jewish. In his autobiography, Nemtsov recounts that his Russian Orthodox paternal grandmother had him baptized as an infant,[4] something Nemtsov, now a practicing Orthodox Christian, found out many years later.[5]

From 1976–81 he studied physics at Gorky State University, where, in 1985, he earned his Ph.D in Physics and Mathematics, defending his dissertation at the age of 25. Until 1990 Nemtsov worked as a research fellow at the Gorky Radio-Physics Research Institute (Горьковский научно-иссследовательский радиофизический институт, НИРФИ).[6]

In 1986, in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster, Nemtsov organized a protest movement in his hometown, which effectively prevented the construction of a new nuclear power plant in the region.[6]

Political career[edit]

In 1989, Nemtsov decided to run for the Soviet Congress of People's Deputies. He ran on a platform of reform, which for the time was quite radical; promoting ideas such as multi-party democracy and private enterprise.[6] He was unsuccessful in this election, but returned to run for the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Republic representing Gorky (later renamed Nizhny Novgorod) in 1990. This time around Nemtsov defeated the twelve other candidates in the election, most of whom were members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union nomenklatura (Chinayeva 1996, 36). In Parliament he joined the "Reform Coalition" and "Centre-Left" political groups.[6]

In the Russian parliament, Nemtsov was on the legislative committee,[6] working on agricultural reform and the liberalization of foreign trade. It was in this position that Nemtsov came to meet Boris Yeltsin, who was impressed with the young man’s work (Chinayeva 1996, 36). During the 1991 attack on the government by those opposed to Yeltsin, Nemtsov was a vehement supporter of the president, and stood by him during the entire clash. After the events of October 1991, Nemtsov’s loyalty was rewarded with the position of presidential representative in his home region of Nizhny Novgorod (Chinayeva 1996, 36).

In November 1991 Nemtsov was appointed Governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region. He was re-elected in that position by popular vote in December 1995. His tenure was marked by the implementation of a wide-ranging, chaotic free market reform programme which earned the nickname "Laboratory of Reform" for Nihzhny Novgorod and resulted in significant economic growth for the region. Nemtsov's reforms won praise from former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who visited Nizhny Novgorod in 1993 (Chinayeva 1996, 37).

In December 1993 Nemtsov was elected to the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian Parliament. During the election campaign he was backed by "Russia's Choice" and "Yabloko", which were then the principal liberal parties in the country.

In March 1997 Nemtsov was appointed First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, with special responsibility for reform of the energy sector. He was widely popular with the public and appeared to be the lead candidate to become President of Russia in 2000. In the summer of 1997, opinion polls gave Nemtsov over 50% support as a potential presidential candidate. His political career, however, suffered a blow in August 1998 following the crash of the Russian stock-market and the ensuing economic crisis.

Vladimir Putin with Boris Nemtsov, leader of the Union of Right Forces parliamentary party, July 2000

As part of Chubais' economic team, Nemtsov was forced to resign his position of Deputy Prime Minister (Yeltsin 2000, 99). After the dismissal of Prime Minister Chernomyrdin in 1998, Nemtsov was reappointed by Yeltsin to his post of Deputy Prime Minister, but again resigned shortly after when Yeltsin dissolved the government. In August 1999 Nemtsov became one of the co-founders of the Union of Rightist Forces, a new liberal-democratic coalition which received nearly 6 million votes, or 8.6%, in the parliamentary elections in December 1999. Nemtsov himself was elected to the State Duma, or lower house of Parliament, and consequently became its Deputy Speaker in February 2000. In May 2000, after the resignation of Sergei Kiriyenko, Nemtsov was elected leader of the Union of Rightist Forces and its parliamentary group in the State Duma. His position as party leader was confirmed at the Union of Rightist Forces congress in May 2001, where he was backed by over 70% of delegates. In 2002 he took part in the negotiations with the hostage-takers during the Moscow theater hostage crisis.[citation needed]

Between 2000 and 2003 Nemtsov was in a difficult political position. While he vehemently opposed what he believed to be President Vladimir Putin's policies of rolling back democracy and civic freedoms in Russia, he had to collaborate with the powerful co-chairman of the Union of Rightist Forces, Anatoly Chubais, who favoured a more conciliatory line towards the Kremlin. As a consequence, the Union of Rightist Forces's message appeared muddled and confused, thus alienating many liberal voters. In the parliamentary elections of December 2003 the Union of Rightist Forces, whose list was headed by both Nemtsov and Chubais, received just 2.4 million votes, or 4% of the total, thus falling short of the 5% threshold necessary to enter Parliament and losing all of its seats in the State Duma. Official results of the election were put in doubt by exit polls and the alternative vote-count conducted by independent election observers, which showed the Union of Rightist Forces with more than 5% of the national vote and thus eligible for parliamentary seats. However, in January 2004, Nemtsov resigned from the party leadership, accepting his responsibility for the election defeat. [clarification needed][citation needed]

Later career[edit]

In January 2004, Nemtsov co-authored (with his longtime advisor and party colleague Vladimir V. Kara-Murza) an article entitled "Appeal to the Putinist Majority", warning of the dangers of the impending Putin dictatorship, which appeared in Nezavisimaya Gazeta. Later the same month he co-founded "Committee 2008", an umbrella group of the Russian opposition which also included Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Bukovsky and other prominent liberals.[citation needed].

In February 2004, Nemtsov was appointed as a director of the Neftyanoi Bank, and Chairman of Neftyanoi Concern, the bank’s parent company. In December 2005, however, prosecutors announced that the bank would be subject to an investigation following allegations of money laundering and fraud. Nemtsov subsequently stepped down from both his positions in the company citing that he wanted to minimize the political fallout that may ensue because of his continuing involvement in Russian politics. Nemtsov also alleged that his bank might have been targeted because of his friendship and support of former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov who had stated his intention to run for president in 2008.[7]

During the 2004 Ukrainian presidential elections, Nemtsov came out as a strong supporter of the eventual winner Viktor Yushchenko, while the Russian government backed his opponent. Shortly after the Orange Revolution, as the elections and series of protests in Ukraine came to be called, Yushchenko appointed Nemtsov as an economic advisor (Dow Jones International News, 14 February 2005). Nemtsov’s main goal would be to improve business ties between Ukraine and Russia, which had been damaged after the Putin government strongly supported Yushchenko's opponent in the presidential election. Yushchenko's selection of Nemtsov was controversial as Nemtsov was a remaining vocal critic of Putin.[8]

Moscow rally, Yakimanka Street, Bolotnaya Square, February 2012

The relationship between Nemtsov and the Ukrainian government became unstable in the middle of 2005, when a group of legislators called for Yushchenko to fire Nemtsov following accusations that Nemtsov criticized Ukrainian cabinet decisions.[8] He remained as an economic advisor to Yushchenko, despite the criticism, until October 2006, when the office of the Ukrainian president announced that Nemtsov had been “relieved of his duties as a free lance presidential adviser”.[9]

On 26 December 2007, Nemtsov withdrew his candidacy for the 2008 presidential election, saying that he did not want to draw votes away from the other candidate of the "democratic opposition", Mikhail Kasyanov.[10]

Nemtsov co-founded with Gary Kasparov the political opposition movement Solidarnost (Solidarity) on 13 December 2008.[11] The organisation hopes to unite the various opposition forces in Russia. Nemtsov announced at a Solidarnost meeting on 12 March 2009, that he would stand for mayor of Sochi in the city's 26 April election.[12] Nemtsov, a Sochi native, has criticised plans to hold the 2014 Winter Olympics in the town, a position he considers led to an alleged attack on him by Nashi members using ammonium chloride on 23 March 2009.[13]

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev with Nemtsov and Vladimir Ryzhkov, 2012

On 27 April 2009 it was announced that the acting Sochi mayor and United Russia candidate Anatoly Pakhomov had won the election with 77% of the vote.[14] Nemtsov, who came second with around 14% of the vote, contested the fairness of the election, alleging that he was denied media access and that government workers had been pressured to vote for Pakhomov. Nemtsov is among the 34 original signatories of the online anti-Putin manifesto "Putin must go", published on 10 March 2010. In September 2010, together with Vladimir Ryzhkov, Mikhail Kasyanov and Vladimir Milov, Nemtsov formed the "For Russia without Lawlessness and Corruption" party, which, three months later was transformed into the People's Freedom Party.[15] In May 2011 the party submitted an application for registration to the Ministry of Justice, but one month later registration was denied. The party is examining various forms of boycott of the parliamentary elections of December 2011. It is also going to elect an alternative candidate for the presidential elections of March 2012.

On 16 December 2010, Putin stated, in a live television broadcast, that during the 1990s, Nemtsov, Milov and Ryzhkov "dragged a lot of billions along with Berezovsky and those who are now in prison... They have been pulled away from the manger, they had been spending heavily, and now they want to go back and fill their pockets".[16] In January 2011, Nemtsov, Milov and Ryzhkov brought the case of Putin's statement before the Moscow City Court, but the following month the suit was dismissed. According to the judge, Tatiana Adamova, the names of Nemtsov, Milov and Ryzhkov were used by Putin merely as common names to refer to a certain class of politicians.[17]

Arrests and imprisonment[edit]

On 25 November 2007, Nemtsov was arrested by police during an unauthorized protest against President Putin, he told the press.[18] Nemtsov was released later that day. On 31 December 2010, he was again arrested with other opposition leaders during a rally against government restrictions on public protests. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail on 2 January 2011.[19] The arrests were condemned by US Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman,[20] and by Amnesty International who described him as a prisoner of conscience.[21] The Economist called his arrest "a new low" in the governance of Russia.[22]

Nemtsov filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, which, according to its lawyer, immediately accepted Nemtsov's complaint and agreed to treat the case through its new urgent procedure.[23] On 6 December 2011 Nemtsov was once again arrested, with at least a hundred other demonstrators, during the December 6 protests in Moscow.[24]

Family life[edit]

Nemtsov is married[25] and has four children.

Political views[edit]

March of Peace, slogan "Occupation of the Crimea is a shame of Russia", Moscow, March 15, 2014

Since his dismissal from the government, Nemtsov became an important actor in the political discourse and eventually in the opposition to the Russian government as led by Putin. Nemtsov's political beliefs have caused some to characterize him as a "new liberal". [clarification needed] (Shlapentokh 1999, p. 1169)

In December 2013, Nemtsov said on behalf of his party: "We support Ukraine's course toward European integration [...] By supporting Ukraine, we also support ourselves."[26]

Nemtsov condemned the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in war-torn eastern Ukraine: "My condolences to the families of the victims. The bastards, who did this, must be destroyed. The separatists the other day bragged they had the Buk missiles, with which they wanted to take down an AN-26. If those are them, they must get no mercy."[27]

Nemtsov is among the few Russian statesman who is a vocal critic of the Annexation of Crimea by Russia. Nemtsov has stated that he views Crimea as an integral part of Ukraine and its annexation by the Russian Federation to be illegal, saying the people of Crimea and not Russian legislators should decide in which country they should reside.[28]

In September 2014, Nemtsov wrote in the Kyiv Post: "...current events indicate that the most nightmarish, the most bloody scenario of fratricidal war is already developing. This is not our war, this is not your war, this is not the war of 20-year old paratroopers sent out there. This is Vladimir Putin's war."[29]


Distribution of the report Putin. Corruption

Since 2008, Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov have published several reports criticising Putin's government and proposing alternative ways of development for the country:

  • Putin. Results - February 2008
  • Putin and Gazprom - September 2008
  • Putin and the Crisis - February 2009
  • Sochi and the Olympics - April 2009
  • Putin. Results. 10 years - June 2010. Translated into English as Putin: What 10 Years of Putin Have Brought, a revised edition of the report Putin. Results of 2008.
  • Putin. Corruption - March 2011. Written by co-chairmen of the People's Freedom Party Nemtsov, Milov, Ryzhkov and Solidarity movement spokesman Olga Shorina. The printing of the report was funded with donations.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Krichevsky, Lev (20 May 2005). "Russian Jewish Elites and Anti-Semitism". AJC. 
  4. ^ Nemtsov, Boris. The Provinicial Man, 1997
  5. ^ Allensworth, Wayne. The Russian Question, p.289. Rowman & Littlefield, 1998, ISBN 0-8476-9003-2.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Profile of Boris Nemtsov: Russia's newest first deputy premier". Jamestown Foundation Prism. 18 April 1997. 
  7. ^ Pronina, 20 December 2005.
  8. ^ a b Dow Jones International News, 3 June 2005.
  9. ^ RIAN - Events in Russia; 9 October 2006.
  10. ^ "Nemtsov no longer presidential candidate",, 26 December 2007.
  11. ^ "Russian Opposition Founds New Movement". 14 December 2008. Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "Nemtsov To Run For Mayor Of Sochi". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  13. ^ "Kremlin critic in ammonia attack". BBC News. 23 March 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  14. ^ Unknown (27 April 2009). "Pro-Putin mayor elected in Sochi". BBC News. Retrieved 27 April 2009. 
  15. ^ "Kremlin foes create new opposition party". RIA Novosti. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  16. ^ Путин призвал не допустить во власть тех, кто "поураганил" в 90-е годы. РИА Новости. 16/12/2010
  17. ^ Борис Немцов стал именем нарицательным. Kommersant, 24 February 2011
  18. ^ "Nemtsov shortly detained by police.". Twitter BreakingNewsOn. 25 November 2007. 
  19. ^ Michael Schwirtz (3 January 2011). "Arrests in Russia Signal Divisions Over Dissent". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  20. ^ Ellen Barry (6 January 2011). "Russians React Badly to U.S. Criticism on Protests". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  21. ^ "19 held at Moscow protests of opposition jailing". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  22. ^ "Frozen out". The Economist. 6 January 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  23. ^ [1], Rainovotsi.
  24. ^ Daniel Sandford (6 December 2011). "BBC News - Russia election: Protesters defy rally ban in Moscow". BBC News. Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  25. ^ Window on Eurasia: "Russia's Islamic Leaders Back Putin, But Some Muslims Tear Down His Posters", November 2007
  26. ^ Brian Whitmore (5 December 2013). "The Bolotnaya Maydan". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  27. ^ "Boris Nemtsov: Downing of Boeing in Donetsk area is terroristic act of 9/11 scale". Charter 97.
  28. ^ "Немцов рассказал, при каком условии возможно возвращение Крыма Украине". Obozrevatel. 
  29. ^ "Boris Nemtsov: Why does Putin wage war with Ukraine?". Kyiv Post. September 1, 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Chinayeva, Elena. 1996. “Boris Nemtsov, A Rising Star of the Russian Provinces”. Transitions 2 (No. 4): 36-38.
  • Dow Jones International News. 2005. “Ukraine President Appoints Former Liberal Russian Lawmaker.” 14 February 2005, (Accessed via Factiva, 26 October 2006)
  • Dow Jones International News. 2005. “Ukraine Lawmakers Urge Yushchenko To Sack Russian Adviser.” 3 June 2005, (Accessed via Factiva, 26 October 2006)
  • Nicholson, Alex. “Prosecutors: money laundering found at Russian bank headed by frmer government minister.” Associated Press Newswires, 9 December 2005, (Accessed via Factiva, 26 October 2006)
  • Nemtsov, Boris. 2000. “Reform for Russia: Forging a New Domestic Policy.” Harvard International Review 22 (No. 2): 16-21.
  • Pronina, Lyuba. “Nemtsov resigns from bank post.” Moscow Times, 20 December 2005, (Accessed via ISI Emerging Markets 28 October 2006)
  • RIAN – Events in Russia. 2006. “Ukraine President Dismisses Boris Nemtsov from Adviser Post.” 9 October 2006. (Accessed via ISI Emerging Markets 28 October 2006)
  • Shlapentokh, Vladimir. 1999. “Social Inequality in Post Communist Russia: The Attitudes of the Political Elite and the Masses (1991-1998).” Europe-Asian Studies 151 (No. 7): 1167-1181.
  • Yeltsin, Boris N. 2000. Midnight Diaries. Translated by Catherine A. Fitzpatrick. New York: Public Affairs

External links[edit]