Nemtsov, Boris Yefimovich

(1959– )
   Politician. Born in Sochi to Jewish and Russian parents, Boris Nemtsov was raised as a Christian in the Orthodox faith. He holds a PhD in mathematics and physics. His start in politics came when he organized a protest in response to the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Four years later, he ran for office in Sochi on a radical reform platform; his bid for the Soviet Congress of People’s Deputies failed, but a year later he won a seat in the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic as a representative of Gorky (Nizhny Novgorod). During the August Coup of 1991, he forged a profitable alliance with Boris Yeltsin. In the early 1990s, he turned Nizhny Novgorod into a “laboratory of reform” through innovative and dramatic economic programs. Running as an economic liberal, he won a seat in the Federation Council in 1993. During the mid-1990s, his political star rose and he was well positioned to assume the presidency in 2000, until the ruble crisis of 1998 struck. In 1999, he helped found the Union of Right Forces, and won election to the State Duma on the party’s ticket.
   Nemtsov became deputy speaker the next year, but was constrained from fully articulating his ideas due to Vladimir Putin’s overwhelming popularity as president. He resigned his leadership of the party in 2004 after its poor performance in parliamentary elections. After leaving the Duma, he became a strident critic of the Putin administration. In 2004 he supported Viktor Yushchenko, the pro-Western candidate, in the 2004 Ukrainian presidential elections, and was appointed to his cabinet after the Orange Revolution. This created controversy in both Ukraine and Russia, and he was ultimately forced to step down. After returning to Russia, he resumed his criticism of the Kremlin, and landed himself in jail in 2007 for taking part in an unauthorized protest. He has more recently joined forces with Garry Kasparov and made an unsuccessful run for mayor of his hometown and site of the 2014 Winter Olympiad, Sochi.
   See also Color revolutions.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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