The United States has called on the Russian government to conduct a prompt investigation into the murder of Boris Nemtsov, the Russian opposition leader shot dead near the Kremlin in Moscow on February 27. Nemtsov was a former Russian first deputy prime minister and an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

In a February 27 statement, President Obama offered condolences to Nemtsov’s family and to the Russian people and noted that Nemtsov was “a tireless advocate for his country, seeking for his fellow Russian citizens the rights to which all people are entitled.”

Secretary of State John Kerry praised Nemtsov’s lifelong commitment to building a democratic and more prosperous Russia and to improving Russia’s relationship with other countries, including the United States. “In every post, he sought to reform and open Russia, and to empower the Russian people to have a greater say in the life of their country,” Kerry said. “His absence will be deeply felt in Russia and around the world.”

Demands for an investigation

But the U.S. officials emphasized the need for a thorough investigation into the murder. Obama said, “The United States condemns the brutal murder of Boris Nemtsov, and we call upon the Russian government to conduct a prompt, impartial, and transparent investigation into the circumstances of his murder and ensure that those responsible for this vicious killing are brought to justice.” 

And on ABC’s network television program This Week March 1, Kerry reiterated that the U.S. hopes for a “thorough, transparent, real investigation, not just of who actually fired the shots, but who, if anyone, may have ordered or instructed this or been behind this.”