Boris Nemtsov

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This year started quite symbolically in Russia. In the last days of 2010, government authorities decided to demonstrate their power and their intolerance for being challenged: The verdict issued at the farcical trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev had no relation to jurisprudence; leading opposition figures were detained for as many as 15 days on purely political grounds.

These heavy-handed actions set a peculiar stage for President Dmitry Medvedev's address at the World Economic Forum. Nevertheless, the intelligent and well-informed audience in Davos enthusiastically applauded his nice words about Russia's economic modernization and dynamic democratic development. International business leaders seem to accept his complaints that few Russians understand his great plans for the country's future, which greedy oligarchs and corrupt officials from the 1990s prevent him from undertaking.…  Seguir leyendo »

My country has produced some of the best Olympic athletes in history, but some things about the preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics, which are to be held in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, are very disturbing.

I was born in Sochi and am running for mayor in tomorrow's election, which has been marked by all the usual traits of "managed democracy": My Kremlin-backed opponent enjoys a vast administrative and media advantage, while my campaign materials are being confiscated and my supporters are constantly harassed. But the state of democracy in Russia is only one of my concerns: Based on the current plans, Sochi is simply not capable of hosting the Olympics, and continuing with the current approach threatens the well-being of the people of Sochi and the entire region.…  Seguir leyendo »