Boris Nemtsov--who was murdered in Moscow on February 27--was a Russian politician. He was a prominent figure in the opposition movement against the policies of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Just 55 when he was killed, Nemtsov had been a factor in Russian political life for decades. He became regional governor of Nizhy Novgorod--a Russian industrial center--when he was just 32. Russian president Boris Yeltsin made Nemtsov Russia's first deputy prime minister in 1997.
Nemtsov was reportedly a candidate to succeed Yeltsin when Yeltsin stepped down in 1999, but instead Putin was chosen. Originally a supporter of Putin, Nemtsov swiftly became an opposition leader. An attractive politician with an easy smile, Nemtsov had a compelling speaking style and a Western-influenced dedication to civil liberties that Putin's government routinely tramples. Nemtsov was a thorn in Putin's side throughout this century, continually exposing corruption and rallying large-scale public protests. His friend and fellow opposition leader, the chess champion Garry Kasparov, said upon Nemtsov's death that "a man of Boris's quality no longer fit Putin's Russia."
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