18
May 2017

Canada Backs ‘Magnitsky Law’ to Expand Sanction Powers

by Josh Wingrove
2017 M05 18 01:27 GMT+1

The Canadian government will back legislation allowing the country to impose sanctions on human rights abusers in foreign countries.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Wednesday the government would back the proposed Canadian law that is named for late Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, whose arrest and death in prison drew international attention. The U.K. government backed a similar law earlier this year.

The government favors expanding the power to impose sanctions “to include cases of gross violations of human rights and foreign corruption,” Freeland said in Canada’s House of Commons on Wednesday. “In Canada and around the world, the issue of human rights sanctions and the Sergei Magnitsky case have drawn strong interest, and rightly so.”

Freeland is an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and is presently banned from entering the country. Magnitsky was a lawyer for Hermitage Capital Management Ltd. who died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after alleging a $230 million tax theft from the Russian treasury. The case has also sparked U.S. sanctions.

The law was approved by Canada’s Senate last month and is now before the elected House of Commons, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have a majority that all but guarantees the law will pass. Freeland said the government will seek technical amendments.

Original Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-18/canada-backs-magnitsky-law-to-expand-corruption-sanction-power

18
May 2017

Liberals to support Magnitsky-style bill targeting Russia for human rights abuse

MICHELLE ZILIO
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, May 17, 2017 8:23PM EDT
Last updated Wednesday, May 17, 2017 11:14PM EDT

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says the Liberal government will support a Senate bill that would establish Magnitsky-style sanctions against human-rights abusers in Russia and around the world, following in the footsteps of the U.S. and Britain.

The announcement comes a month after the House of Commons foreign affairs committee urged the Liberal government to expand Canadian sanctions legislation to include human-rights abusers, freezing their assets and denying them visas. U.S.-born financier and anti-Putin campaigner Bill Browder has led the international effort to sanction human-rights abusers worldwide, in memory of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was murdered in 2009. Mr. Browder has made many trips to Ottawa in recent years, pressing both the former Conservative and current Liberal government to implement a Magnitsky Act.

“In Canada and around the world, the issue of human-rights sanctions and in particular the case of Sergei Magnitsky have drawn strong interest, and rightly so,” said Ms. Freeland in a speech to the House of Commons on Wednesday night. “However, there is no current Canadian law that authorizes the imposition of sanctions specifically for violations of international human rights obligations in a foreign state or for acts of corruption.”

Ms. Freeland specifically expressed support for Bill S-226, tabled by Conservative Senator Raynell Andreychuk. The legislation, essentially modelled on the Magnitsky Act that passed in the U.S. Congress in 2012, passed the Senate in April.

The House is expected to start debating it Friday. Ms. Freeland said the government will work with parliamentarians to bring forward some “some technical amendments to strengthen the bill,” but did not say what those amendments will look like.

A spokesperson from the Russian embassy in Ottawa denounced the government’s announcement Wednesday night.

“We deplore this unfriendly move by the Canadian government which will surely damage our bilateral relations and will not be left unanswered. Equally unfortunate is yet another repetition of failed confrontational policies toward Russia.”

Earlier this year, pro-Moscow websites led a smear campaign against Ms. Freeland highlighting that her maternal Ukrainian grandfather was a Nazi collaborator. Russia has also refused to lift a travel ban it imposed on Ms. Freeland in 2014.

Bill S-226 would sanction human-rights violators such as those linked to the murder of Mr. Magnitsky. Mr. Browder hired Mr. Magnitsky as the lawyer for his Moscow-based Hermitage Capital Management hedge fund in 2005. Mr. Magnitsky was arrested in 2008 and died in prison in 2009 after accusing Russian officials of theft. Investigations by Russia’s human-rights council eventually concluded he was beaten to death by prison staff.

Mr. Browder has dedicated the past seven years to creating a legacy for Mr. Magntisky by urging governments to pass sanctions in his name. He said Ms. Freeland’s announcement Wednesday is a “perfect outcome.”

“This is an emotional day and gives some meaning to a terrible and tragic loss seven years ago, with the murder of Sergei Magnitsky,” Mr. Browder told The Globe and Mail in an interview from London.

“It recognizes his sacrifice and it sends a very powerful message to bad guys everywhere that there’s a consequence for torturing and killing people.”

At one point last year, Mr. Browder was concerned the Liberal government was stalling its promise to pass a Canadian version of the Magnitsky Act – something all three major federal parties committed to during the 2015 federal election. When the Liberals came to office, then-foreign minister Stéphane Dion opposed the idea, arguing that Canada already has laws to deal with corrupt officials.

Mr. Browder raised the pressure on the government. He and former Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, who initially led the push in Parliament for a Canadian version of the Magnitsky Act, testified before parliamentary committees on the matter. The committees also heard from other Russian human-rights advocates, including outspoken Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza, who alleges he has been poisoned twice for his political activities, and Zhanna Nemtsova, the daughter of Boris Nemtsov, the democratic Russian opposition leader who was killed in 2015.

The testimony resulted in the foreign affairs committee’s final report, which bore the name and photo of Mr. Magnitsky. It called on the government to amend the Special Economic Measures Act to expand the scope under which sanctions can be enacted, to include cases of “gross human rights violations.”

The report landed on the desk of Ms. Freeland, who replaced Mr. Dion in January after a cabinet shuffle. Mr. Browder was hopeful that his long-time friend Ms. Freeland would take action. Ms. Freeland, an outspoken supporter of Ukraine, does not share the same views as her predecessor on Magnitsky-style sanctions.

Conservative foreign affairs critic Peter Kent welcomed Ms. Freeland’s announcement Wednesday, saying it took far too long for the Liberal government to support Bill S-226. He said the bill will target human-rights abusers who do the dirty work – not just government officials.

“These [sanctions] are for the jailers, those who take directions from superiors to brutalize, to kill, to intimidate and to move ill-gotten gains around the world,” Mr. Kent said.

NDP foreign affairs critic Hélène Laverdière also applauded the government’s decision.

“Canada must be a leader when it comes to human rights. Several countries have adopted similar legislation and we are encouraged that the Liberals are finally taking this important step to support the global Magnitsky movement.”

Mr. Browder said the Liberal government’s commitment builds on Canada’s global reputation as a defender of human rights.

“Canada has always been punching above its weight in the area of international human rights. And it sets a very strong tone for the rest of the world to follow.”

As Mr. Browder awaits the implementation of a Canadian Magnitsky Act, he continues talks with the European Union, South Africa and other governments on adopting similar sanctions. Like the U.S. and Britain, Estonia has adopted sanctions and Lithuania is considering a draft Magnitsky Act.

Original Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/liberals-to-support-bill-calling-for-magnitsky-style-sanctions/article35031639/?click=sf_globefb

Follow Michelle Zilio on Twitter: @michellezilio

18
May 2017

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces $5.9 Million Settlement Of Civil Money Laundering And Forfeiture Claims Against Real Estate Corporations Alleged To Have Laundered Proceeds Of Russian Tax Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 12, 2017

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces $5.9 Million Settlement Of Civil Money Laundering And Forfeiture Claims Against Real Estate Corporations Alleged To Have Laundered Proceeds Of Russian Tax Fraud

Defendant Prevezon Holdings Ltd. Agrees to Pay $5,896,333.65, Triple the Fraud Proceeds Alleged to Be Directly Traceable to the Defendants

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the United States has settled a money laundering and civil forfeiture action against assets of 11 corporations, including some that own luxury residential and high-end commercial real estate in Manhattan. The Government’s complaint alleged that the defendant corporations laundered some proceeds of a $230 million Russian tax refund fraud scheme involving corrupt Russian officials that was uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who died in pretrial detention in Moscow under suspicious circumstances and was posthumously prosecuted by Russia.

In the stipulation of settlement filed with U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III today, which is still subject to approval by the Court, one of the defendant corporations, Prevezon Holdings Ltd., agrees to pay $5,896,333.65 to resolve the Government’s claims against all defendants. This payment represents triple the value of the proceeds that the Government alleged could be traced directly from the Russian treasury fraud to the defendants ($1,965,444.55), and more than ten times the amount of proceeds the Government alleged could be traced directly to property in New York (approximately $582,000).

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “We will not allow the U.S. financial system to be used to launder the proceeds of crimes committed anywhere – here in the U.S., in Russia, or anywhere else. Under the terms of this settlement, the defendants have agreed to pay not just what we alleged flowed to them from the Russian treasury fraud, but three times that amount, and roughly 10 times the money we alleged could be traced directly into U.S. accounts and real estate.”

The Government’s lawsuit alleged as follows:

In 2007, a Russian criminal organization engaged in an elaborate tax refund fraud scheme resulting in a fraudulently obtained tax refund of approximately $230 million from the Russian treasury. As part of the fraud scheme, members of the organization stole the corporate identities of portfolio companies of the Hermitage Fund, a foreign investment fund operating in Russia. The organization’s members then used these stolen identities to make fraudulent claims for tax refunds.

In order to procure the refunds, the criminal organization fraudulently re-registered the Hermitage companies in the names of members of the organization, and then orchestrated sham lawsuits against these companies. These sham lawsuits involved members of the organization as both the plaintiffs (representing sham commercial counterparties suing the Hermitage companies) and the defendants (purporting to represent the Hermitage companies). In each case, the members of the organization purporting to represent the Hermitage companies confessed full liability in court, leading the courts to award large money judgments to the plaintiffs.

The purpose of the sham lawsuits was to fraudulently generate money judgments against the Hermitage companies. Members of the organization purporting to represent the Hermitage companies then used those money judgments to seek tax refunds. The basis of these refund requests was that the money judgments constituted losses eliminating the profits the Hermitage companies had earned, and thus the Hermitage companies were entitled to a refund of the taxes that had been paid on these profits. The requested refunds totaled 5.4 billion rubles, or approximately $230 million.

Members of the organization who were officials at two Russian tax offices corruptly approved the requests within one business day, and approximately $230 million was disbursed to members of the organization, purportedly on behalf of the Hermitage companies, two days later.

After perpetrating this fraud, members of the organization undertook illegal actions in order to conceal this fraud and retaliate against individuals who attempted to expose it. After learning of the lawsuits against its portfolio companies, Hermitage retained attorneys, including Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, to investigate. Magnitsky and other attorneys for Hermitage uncovered the refund fraud scheme, and the complicity of Russian governmental officials in it, and were subject to retaliatory criminal proceedings against them. Magnitsky was arrested and died approximately a year later in pretrial detention. An independent Russian human rights council concluded that Magnitsky’s arrest and detention were illegal, that Magnitsky was denied necessary medical care in custody, that he was beaten by eight guards with rubber batons on the last day of his life, and that the ambulance crew that was called to treat him as he was dying was deliberately kept outside of his cell for more than an hour until he was dead.

Members of the criminal organization, and associates of those members, have also engaged in a broad pattern of money laundering in order to conceal the proceeds of the fraud scheme. In a complex series of transfers through shell corporations, the $230 million from the Russian treasury was laundered into numerous accounts in Russia and other countries. A portion of the funds stolen from the Russian treasury passed through several shell companies into Prevezon Holdings, Ltd., a Cyprus-based real estate corporation that is a defendant in the forfeiture action. Prevezon Holdings laundered these fraud proceeds into its real estate holdings, including investment in multiple units of high-end commercial space and luxury apartments in Manhattan, and created multiple other corporations, also subject to the forfeiture action, to hold these properties.

Original source: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/acting-manhattan-us-attorney-announces-59-million-settlement-civil-money-laundering-and

06
April 2017

Canadian Parliament Formally Recommends the Canadian Government Adopt Magnitsky Sanctions Against Human Rights Violators

Press Release
For Immediate Distribution

6 April 2017 – Today, the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs has issued a formal recommendation to the Canadian government to update the existing sanctions legislation with the Magnitsky sanctions against human rights violators.

In their recommendation, the Committee said: “In honour of Sergei Magnitsky, the Government of Canada should amend the Special Economic Measures Act to expand the scope under which sanctions measures can be enacted, including in cases of gross human rights violations.”

The Magnitsky recommendations include:
1) Freezing assets of human rights violators,
2) Banning their entry to Canada,
3) Publishing a list of people and entities subject to these sanctions, and
4) Conducting an annual review of the Canadian government’s enforcement of the legislation.

The recommendation was inspired by the case of Sergei Magnitsky in Russia, but has been expanded to apply to human rights violators globally.

The Committee concluded:

“While originally focused on addressing the human rights situation in Russia, catalysed by the tragic case of Sergei Magnitsky, this movement now calls for the application of sanctions against human rights violators globally, and was instrumental in the passing of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act in the U.S.”

The report by Canada’s Foreign Affairs Committee cites William Browder, leader of the global Magnitsky Justice Campaign:

“Effectively, with a Magnitsky act, whether it be a Russian act specifically or a global act, it would give people some hope that in Canada, the United States, and other places, people do care.”

The Canadian Magnitsky Recommendation is a result of a five-month review of the sanctions regime conducted in the Canada’s House of Commons.

“The Committee heard compelling testimony from a number of highly-respected human rights activists regarding how sanctions can be a potentially valuable tool in the promotion and protection of human rights. They recommended that Canada expand the legislative authority under which the government can impose sanctions against human rights violators,” says the Foreign Affairs Committee report.

The report by the Foreign Affairs Committee quotes Zhanna Nemtsova, founder of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom, named after her father, a Russian pro-democracy advocate who was murdered in 2015, saying:

“These are not sanctions against a country or even a government. These are sanctions against specific individuals responsible for corruption and for abusing human rights.”

The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs was tasked with the review of the sanctions regime on 14 April 2016 by the Canada’s House of Commons.

The Committee held the review from October 2016, by conducting 13 hearings where different experts testified on the legislation. The committee assessed related policy issues from government officials, academics, researchers, stakeholders and practitioners.

Today, the Committee published its final report recommending the Government adopts the Magnitsky sanctions.

As part of its recommendations, the Foreign Affairs Committee called for the Government to publish a list of sanctioned persons:

“The Government of Canada should produce and maintain a comprehensive, public and easily accessible list of all individuals and entities targeted by Canadian sanctions containing all information necessary to assist with the proper identification of those listed.”

The Foreign Affairs Committee also recommended that the Government publishes an annual report on the implementation of the sanctions regime.

“The Government of Canada should amend the Special Economic Measures Act to require the production of an annual report by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to be tabled in each House of Parliament within six months of the fiscal year-end, which would detail the objectives of all orders and regulations made pursuant to that Act and actions taken for their implementation.”

The next step is for the Canadian government to consider the parliament’s recommendation and draft legislation.

For more information, please contact:

Justice for Sergei Magnitsky
+44 207 440 1777
e-mail: info@lawandorderinrussia.org
www.lawandorderinrussia.org
billbrowder.com
Twitter.com/Billbrowder

22
March 2017

Magnitsky Family Lawyer Remains in Intensive Care Unit

Russian lawyer Nikolai Gorokhov, who represents Sergei Magnitsky’s family, remains in the intensive care unit at Moscow Botkin hospital. His condition is presently assessed as serious, but not critical. He is conscious and responsive and this morning Nikolai was able to speak to doctors.

Our thoughts and prayers are now with Nikolai and his family at this difficult time,” said William Browder, leader of the global Magnitsky justice campaign.

Since last night, Russian state media carried statements from Russian law enforcement sources dismissing foul play.

Details about the incident with Nikolai Gorokhov were first publicised soon after the incident by life.ru, a Russian media organization reportedly connected to Russian state security services.

The details presented by life.ru and other Russian state-controlled media contradict the information available from eyewitnesses. The notable differences concern the number of workers at the scene who were delivering a bathtub to the upper floor of the apartment building where the lawyer lives, and the whereabouts of the people at the scene during the incident.

Nikolai Gorokhov was scheduled to appear this morning, at 10:50 am, in front of the Moscow City Appeals Court to argue the shocking new “Pavlov Leaks” case exposing organized crime and corruption in the US$230 million fraud investigation in which all Russian officials were exonerated and Sergei Magnitsky was accused posthumously.

The new evidence submitted by Nikolai Gorokhov in particular shows regular communications between Andrei Pavlov, lawyer for the Klyuev organized crime group who was involved in the US$230 mln fraud, and Oleg Urzhumtsev, ex Interior Ministry investigator (sanctioned under the US Magnitsky Act), who helped Pavlov and others to evade responsibility for their role in the crime that Sergei Magnitsky exposed. Certain Klyuev gang members are identified in the communications by their criminals aliases such as “The Bold” and “The Great.”

The outcome of the hearing at the Moscow City Court today is not known.

18
November 2015

Boris and Sergei Believed in a Brighter Future for Russia

Boris Nemtsov, the Russian politician, was assassinated near the Kremlin on 27 February 2015.

Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer, uncovered the largest publicly-known corruption case in Russia involving the theft of $230 million, testified about it naming complicit officials. Sergei was arrested by some of the implicated officials, held for 358 days in pre-trial detention in torturous conditions, and killed in Russian police custody on 16 November 2009.

On the 6th anniversary of Sergei Magnitsky’s murder, 16 November 2015, the Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards were launched. The first Sergei Magnitsky Award for Campaigning for Democracy was awarded posthumously to Boris Nemtsov.


Statement by Bill Browder on the Sergei Magnitsky 2015 Human Rights Award for Democracy to Boris Nemtsov (presented posthumously)

Boris Nemtsov was a courageous man, and a true friend of the Magnitsky Justice campaign. He was a steadfast supporter of our initiative to impose targeted Western sanctions on Russian officials involved in human rights abuse and corruption.

Boris shamed weak Western diplomats who tried to appease the Russian leader, because he was convinced that the sanctions are the necessary, effective and morally right way to stand up to Russian official impunity.

Both Boris and Sergei were optimists and believed in a brighter future for Russia. They show us that Russia produces great people with humanity and integrity.

Their loss is a tragedy for Russia and the world.

The fact that both were killed in cold blood, and in both cases those responsible have not been brought to account, is the call for action.

We cannot bring Boris and Sergei back, but we owe it to them to carry on with our cause, to seek justice in the form of further Magnitsky sanctions on corrupt officials and human rights violators by countries around the world.

#magnitskyawards
billbrowder.com
www.facebook.com/russianuntouchables

‘Red Notice’

17
November 2015

Winners of 2015 Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards Announced in London at the Inaugural Ceremony

Лауреаты премии Сергея Магнитского 2015 года

The winners of the 2015 ‘Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards’ were announced in London last night:

1) Boris Nemtsov (posthumously and accepted by his daughter Zhanna Nemtsova), Russian opposition leader (Special Award for Campaigning for Democracy);

2) Guy Verhofstadt, Member of European Parliament (Campaigning European Politician Award), co-author of Magnitsky Sanctions Resolution in the European Parliament;

3) Jim McGovern, U.S. Congressman (Campaigning US Politician Award), co-author of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act adopted by the US Congress;

4) The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, an anti-corruption and investigative journalism NGO (Outstanding Investigative Journalism Award, accepted by Paul Radu and Roman Anin) who investigated and publicised the transnational money laundering trail from the $230 million theft uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky;

5) Andrew Rettman, European journalist with EU Observer (Outstanding European Coverage of Magnitsky Case Award) who covered political aspects of the Magnitsky case in the EU;

6) James O’Brien, British journalist, television and radio presenter, and a show host on LBC talk station (Outstanding British Coverage of Magnitsky Case Award) who shamed the British government in their weak response to the Magnitsky case;

7) Geoffrey Robertson QC, international lawyer (Outstanding Contribution to Human Rights Law Award), author of publications on Magnitsky sanctions legislation;

8) The Oslo Freedom Forum, a human rights conference platform (Best Human Rights NGO Award, accepted by Thor Halvorssen) who promoted policy debate on Magnitsky sanctions and human rights; and

9) The Hon. Irwin Cotler, former Attorney General and Justice Minister of Canada (Outstanding Contribution to Global Magnitsky Campaign), author of the Magnitsky bill in the Canadian Parliament, and chair of the Justice for Sergei Magnitsky Inter-Parliamentary Group.

The organising committee of the Global Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards this year consists of activists from major international organizations, including Transparency International, The Henry Jackson Society, Fair Trials International, the Central and Eastern European Council of Canada, and the British Parliament’s All-Party Group on Anti-Corruption.

The Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards, a newly-launched international human rights prize, are advanced by the Magnitsky family as a “beacon of support” for all those who fight injustice around the world and promoted by the Justice for Magnitsky Campaign.

Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer, uncovered the largest publicly-known corruption case in Russia involving the theft of $230 million, and testified about it naming complicit officials. He was arrested by some of the implicated officials, held for 358 days in pre-trial detention in torturous conditions, and killed in Russian police custody on 16 November 2009.

17
November 2015

U.S. Senator Rubio Calls for Adoption of Global Magnitsky, Honouring Magnitsky’s Anniversary

Senator Rubio has called to intensify U.S. sanctions on those responsible for the murder of Sergei Magnitsky and the assassination of Boris Nemtsov. Senator shared his thoughts and prayers with the family and colleagues of Sergei Magnitsky who was killed six years ago at the age of 37 in Russian police custody after exposing the largest publicly known tax refund corruption case in Russian history. Senator Rubio also called on the Senate to pass the Global Magnitsky bill to stand up to corruption and human rights abuses.

U.S. Senator Rubio’s statement on the 6th anniversary of death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky:

“Today marks the 6th anniversary of Sergei Magnitsky’s murder at the hands of Russian officials. Sergei was detained and tortured for over a year after exposing Russian government corruption. The anniversary of his brutal murder reminds us that governments will go to great lengths to hide their corrupt practices, even take an innocent man’s life. Unfortunately, the Russian officials who are responsible for Sergei’s murder remain at-large. The U.S. should intensify efforts to implement the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 to bring to justice the individuals responsible for Sergei’s death as well as other Russian human rights violators, such as those involved in the brutal assassination earlier this year of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov.

In honor of Sergei’s memory, the Senate should pass the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act which would impose financial and visa sanctions on individuals responsible to human rights abuses and corrupt government officials around the world. The United States should not allow these criminals access to our country or financial institutions.

My thoughts and prayers are with Sergei’s family and friends today as they remember a man who died for trying to expose the corrupt practices of the Russian government. The United States stands by the Russian people on this sad day and will continue to support their efforts to ensure their leaders respect the rule of law.”

17
November 2015

Boris Nemtsov Receives 2015 Sergei Magnitsky Award Poshumously


Zhanna Nemtsova receives her father’s award at the ceremony in London

Boris Nemtsov, the Russian politician, assassinated near the Kremlin in late February this year, was posthumously awarded the Sergei Magnitsky 2015 Human Rights Prize for Democracy. The prize was received by his daughter Zhanna.

Winner of 2015 Sergei Magnitsky Award for Campaigning for Democracy: (Posthumously) Boris Nemtsov.

Boris Nemtsov, the Russian opposition leader, winner of the Sergei Magnitsky’s Campaigning for Democracy Award, was a friend of the Justice for Sergei Magnitsky campaign. Boris was one of the strongest voices advocating for the U.S. Magnitsky Act and the implementation of Magnitsky sanctions in Europe, calling them “the most powerful instrument of pressure on killers and cleptocrats.” (see at 27 min of Youtube video of Nemtsov’s interview.

On 27 February 2015, just two days before he was planning to lead on 1 March 2015 the “March Spring,” a large anti-Putin demonstration in Moscow to protest against the Russian war against Ukraine, and three hours after his live appearance at an independent radio station calling for his supporters to join him, Boris Nemtsov was assassinated next to the Kremlin.

In his last live interview, Boris Nemtsov stated his belief that a large showing of people at the demonstration he was planning to lead, could bring a political change in Russia. He said: “If many people come to demonstrate, this will bring change. This march could be a turnaround point. It could make Kremlin sober. And gradually we will be able to achieve a change in the political course.” (see at 44 min. Youtube video).

The Sergei Magnitsky’s Award for Campaigning for Democracy was received by Nemtsov’s daughter, Zhanna, and presented by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of the longest serving political prisoners in modern Russia.