Media reports about Boris Nemtsov’s place in Russian politics are as puzzling as the bizarre and tragic circumstances of his murder. Anna Nemtsova’s (no relation to the deceased) piece for The Daily Beast is probably the worse we’ve seen yet. Her headline, “Boris Nemtsov, Heart of Russia’s Opposition, Gunned Down in Moscow,” gives the impression that Nemtsov was, well, the heart of Russia’s opposition. He wasn’t, and to claim he was is silly.
Western media reaction to Nemtsov’s murder is ‘absolutely outrageous’
Secondly, Boris Nemtsov was an extremely unpopular figure among ordinary Russians. Why? Because he served in the government of (Russia’s first president) Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. And the government of Boris Yeltsin reduced Russia to a pauper state as a result of the reckless policies of Boris Yeltsin and his pro-Western stance.
Millions and millions of ordinary Russians overnight lost their jobs, they lost their savings, they lost their pensions, and many of them lost their homes. Boris Nemtsov was part of that government. So, with all due respect to his memory, he was a very marginal figure in Russian politics.
A (purely factual) rundown of Nemtsov’s political career from Wikipedia:
Nemtsov was the first governor of the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast (1991–97). Later he worked in the Government of Russia as Minister of fuel and energy (1997), Vice Premier of Russia and Security Council member from 1997 to 1998. In 1998 he founded the Young Russia movement. In 1998, he co-founded the coalition group Right Cause (1998) and in 1999, he co-formed Union of Right Forces, an electoral bloc and subsequently a political party. He was elected several times as a Russian parliament member. Nemtsov was a member of the Congress of People’s Deputies (1990), Federation Council (1993–1997) and State Duma (1999–2003). He also worked as Vice Speaker of the State Duma and the leader of parliamentary group Union of Right Forces. After a split in the Union of Right Forces in 2008, he co-founded Solidarnost. In 2010 he co-formed the coalition “For Russia without Lawlessness and Corruption”, which was refused registration as a party. Beginning in 2012 Nemtsov was co-chair of the Republican Party of Russia – People’s Freedom Party (RPR-PARNAS), a registered political party.