Russian opposition leader and former prime minister Boris Nemtsov is currently under investigation for publicly inciting “extremist activity", local prosecutors told the press.
Prosecutors in Yaroslavl did not indicate which statements concerned them, but Boris Nemtsov, the co-leader of the Parnas opposition party and a local lawmaker, links this to a speech he gave on September 5 at a rally in the Volga River city of Yaroslavl. During that speech Nemtsov called locals to collect signatures on a petition to release the city’s former mayor, who is now under arrest on extortion and bribery charges. He also said that “freeing Russia of crooks and thieves will start in Yaroslavl,” which, in Boris Nemtsov's opinion, could be considered “extremist” in modern Russia.
A representative of the Yaroslavl region prosecutor’s office said that Nemtsov is being probed for alleged “public calls for extremist actions made using the mass media.” According to Russian law, Nemtsov may face up to up to five years in jail and a three-year ban on holding certain jobs.
Nemtsov, who won his seat in the Yaroslavl regional parliament in the September 8 election, claims in his Facebook post that – if found guilty – he will automatically lose the right to be a lawmaker.
Boris Nemtsov served as Russia’s deputy prime minister in 1997-1998 in President Boris Yeltsin’s government and was briefly touted as ailing Yeltsin’s possible successor. After Vladimir Putin succeeded Yeltsin in 1999, Nemtsov became his vocal critic.
Author: Julia Alieva