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The Daily Vertical: The Cost Of Doing The Right Thing (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

He was cocky, he was brash, and he was boastful.

He was charismatic, he was honest, and he was sincere.

He cursed like a truck driver.

And he was one of Russia's most deeply human politicians.

One thing you could could say about Boris Nemtsov is that he was real. What you saw was what you got.

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And another thing you could say about Nemtsov is that, throughout more than a quarter century in public life, he always tried to do the right thing.

When he led protests against a nuclear power plant in his hometown in the late 1980s, he was trying to do the right thing.

When he spearheaded groundbreaking reforms as governor of his native Nizhni Novgorod in the early 1990s, he was trying to do the right thing.

When he took on the oligarchs as deputy prime minister in the late 1990s, he was trying to do the right thing.

When he chose not to play ball with Vladimir Putin and instead went into full-throated opposition, he was trying to do the right thing.

And when he opposed Putin's war in Ukraine and exposed the Kremlin's lies about that war, he was trying to do the right thing.

And on a cold winter night in Moscow, two years ago today, Nemtsov became another example of a deeply depressing fact.

Doing the right thing in Vladimir Putin's Russia can get you killed.

Rest in peace, Boris Yefimovich.

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