Last year, we lost Boris Nemtsov.
And yesterday, we lost Pavel Sheremet.
Two good men who came into their own in the heady times following the Soviet collapse.
Two good men who never gave up on the the lofty ideals of those times.
One was from Russia. One was from Belarus.
One was a politician. One was a journalist.
One stayed in his homeland. And one was forced into exile.
One was gunned down on a chilly winter night in downtown Moscow.
And one was killed by a car bomb on a warm summer morning in downtown Kyiv.
Two good men who probably could easily have found a comfortable place in their respective countries' authoritarian systems if they would only just play ball.
But neither Nemtsov nor Sheremet were ever very interested in playing ball.
Instead, these two good men -- who, incidentally were also very close friends -- were more interested in fighting for what they believed in and following their principles.
And, in the end, they both gave their lives for the sake of those principles.
Speaking on the one-year anniversary of Nemtsov's assassination back in February, Sheremet memorably said that his friend was prepared for prison but not that he would be killed.
That, he added, was impossible to prepare for.
And in the case of these two good men, it was impossible for us to prepare for, as well.