Oleksandr Nosal

CEO and Founder at ICR

Oleksandr Nosal: Nemtsov. Resume

On February 27, Boris Nemtsov, Russian politician, statesman, former Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, member of the Coordination Council of Russian opposition and organizer of protests in Russia, was killed in Moscow. He supported the Orange Revolution and Euromaidan, condemned the annexation of Crimea and urged to stop the war against Ukraine.

Nemtsov was one of the most prominent governors of the 1990s. In 1991, he became the Governor of Nizhniy Novgorod oblast. In December of that year he invited economist Grigoriy Yavlinsky to carry out an economic reform. Due to the developed program of price liberalization the economy was stabilized, secured partly by the first regional loan issuance in the Russian Federation. Boris Nemtsov introduced rules of the free market economy, simplifying processes of new business registration and introducing tax breaks for business owners. He also started a program of targeted social assistance and attracted many investors. During Nemtsov’s governorship leaders of many countries had official visits to the region, including the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Boris Nemtsov implemented programs providing housing for military personnel, constructing processing industry buildings, gasificating villages and allowing free circulation of agricultural land. In order to establish freight transportation, he introduced a program that covered transfer of vehicles into private ownership. Later the reforms started by Nemtsov were implemented in other regions.

In 1997, Boris Nemtsov got into the Government becoming the First Deputy Prime Minister he led reforms in the social sphere and housing and worked on issues of construction and antimonopoly policy. From April to November of 1997, he was also the Minister of Fuel and Energy, and later became a member of the Security Council of Russia. Nemtsov initiated a state program for management training and introduced a competition for companies vying for government contracts.

According to the poll presented by the Public Opinion Fund in April 1997, 29% of Russians were willing to vote for Boris Nemtsov in the presidential election, more than for the Communist Party leader Gennadiy Zyuganov. However, after default Nemtsov left the Government. Later he led the Young Russia movement, and in 1999 the party Union of Right Forces. He became an MP.

In 2003 and 2007 elections Nemtsov’s party did not overcome the 5% barrier, so he became a member of extra-parliamentary opposition. In February 2008, he published his report “Putin. Resume”, later he published a series of reports on Putin and corruption of Russian authorities. In December of the same year, Boris Nemtsov became one of the founders and leaders of the United Democratic Movement “Solidarity” and, in 2012, co-chaired the party RPR-Parnassus. In 2013, he was elected to Yaroslavl Oblast Duma. He took part in activities of Strategy-31 and was on the organizing committee of “For Fair Elections” rallies in the winter of 2011-2012. In 2012, Nemtsov was elected to the opposition’s Coordinating Council. He was an anticommunist and an active supporter of Lenin’s funeral: “Until we bury Lenin nothing good can happen in Russia.”

Nemtsov criticized Russia for its foreign policy towards Ukraine. In September 2014, he signed a statement demanding “to stop the aggressive venture: withdraw Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine and stop propagandist, material and military support to armed supporters of self-proclaimed DPR and LPR.”

On February 23, in an interview for “Echo of Moscow”, Boris Nemtsov said that the attack in Kharkiv, Antimaidan in Moscow and Ukrainian troops withdrawal from Debaltseve were all connected with the insane policy, aggression towards Ukraine. “Antimaidan was necessary to cover Putin and his government, in fact, the main purpose of a reactionary, paid for march like this, similar to a freak show, is to keep Putin, Rotenberg, Yakunin and other lads in their seats for as long as possible. For them to create chaos, including towards Ukraine, ” said the politician.

He believed that the reason for the crisis in Russia was not the lowering of oil prices (“$60 is quite a normal price,” said Nemtsov), but Putin’s aggression against Ukraine and sanctions caused by it. In a recent conversation with reporters Nemtsov said: “Putin began a policy of war with Ukraine, deadly for our country and for many citizens.”

The oppositionist was confident that the key to overcoming the crisis was political change: fair elections with the participation of the opposition, abolition of censorship and suspension of “absolutely poor, false propaganda that just turned upside down and ate brains of the Russian people…” He believed that the main problem of the country was its leadership and that the President’s last name was synonymous to the word “crisis”. “When power is concentrated in the hands of one man, and he/she rules forever, all ends in disaster,” thought Nemtsov.

Boris Nemtsov together with Alexei Navalny, who was arrested the day before for 15 days, were the main organizers of the anti-crisis march that was to take place on March 1 in Moscow. “The political demands are the key, it is an immediate end to the war with Ukraine,” said Nemtsov on February 27. Among other requirements of the march was increase in health care and education spending by reducing military spending (doubled in the last 3 years and by 33% compared to the previous year), taking all known anti-corruption cases to court, redistribution of taxes in favor of regions and return of mayoral and gubernatorial elections.”
Nemtsov pointed out that Ukraine was the most corrupt country in Europe, even more corrupt than Russia. He spoke about the need for economic reforms in Ukraine, including reduction of the state apparatus, tax cuts and encouraging private initiative.

Let’s hope that Ukrainian government and society will listen to Nemtsov’s advice, and Ukraine will choose the way of reforms and change.
Rest In Peace…