FPI Media Advisory: Russian Opposition Figure Boris Nemtsov Assaulted

Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov was assaulted but uninjured by a group of thugs at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport earlier today. Nemtsov was returning from a trip to the United States during which he called for U.S. congressional action imposing penalties on Russian officials responsible for corruption and human rights abuses. Speaking at the Foreign Policy Initiative’s 2010 Forum earlier this week, Mr. Nemtsov discussed Russian Prime Minister Putin’s continuing control over much of the country’s policies and specifically called for Vladislav Surkov, a top Kremlin official, to be placed on a “black list and have no chance to get [a] visa to the States.” Nemtsov said that Surkov is “responsible for censorship. He’s responsible for canceling elections. He’s responsible for [an] atmosphere of hatred.” Nemtsov called it “a pity and very sad” that Surkov is the co-chairman, with National Security Council official Michael McFaul, of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission's Civil Society Working Group. Mr. Nemtsov called the commission, one of President Obama’s initiatives under his “reset” policy toward Russia, a “bad joke.”

During his visit, Nemtsov also endorsed the imposition of penalties on Russian officials implicated in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian jail one year ago after seeking to uncover the truth behind a complicated tax fraud. A bill imposing financial and visa sanctions on some 60 officials has been introduced in the Congress by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA).

To read the transcript of Boris Nemtsov’s remarks at the 2010 Foreign Policy Initiative Forum “Restoring America’s Leadership of a Democratic World," please click here.

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The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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