US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Saturday that his country is “deeply concerned” about Russia’s growing intolerance of freedom of expression, on the sixth anniversary of the assassination of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov.
Nemtsov, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot at a Moscow bridge near the Kremlin on February 27, 2015.
“With Nemtsov in mind, we reaffirm our firm commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Blinken said in a statement.
He stressed that “we remain deeply concerned about the growing intolerance of the Russian government towards all forms of independent expression.”
Several thousand Russians, along with Western diplomats, gathered in Moscow to celebrate the anniversary, and laid flowers at a makeshift memorial at the site where Nemtsov was killed by four bullets.
In 2017, a court found a former officer in the Chechen security forces guilty of the murder of Nemtsov and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. Four other men were found guilty of participating in the murder.
But the family of the murdered politician and his supporters insist that the authorities have not brought the masterminds to justice.
Blinkin praised Benemtsov as the man who “devoted his life to building a free and democratic Russia.”
He said, “Those who demonstrate in defense of their freedoms and democracy in Russia are still being targeted and killed,” stressing that “the Russian people deserve the best.”
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