NHC congratulates Lev Shlosberg with the first Boris Nemtsov Prize | Den norske Helsingforskomité

NHC congratulates Lev Shlosberg with the first Boris Nemtsov Prize

NHC congratulates Lev Shlosberg with the first Boris Nemtsov Prize

The Boris Nemtsov Foundation presents an annual award to a person who is particularly committed to fighting for the freedom of expression and helping those who are persecuted on political, racial or religious grounds in Russia. The first prize is given to the opposition politician Lev Shlosberg for his fight for democratic values in the Russian Federation.

–I am very happy to congratulate Lev Shlosberg with the Boris Nemtsov Prize, says Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Bjørn Engesland. I was honored to host him when he visited the Norwegian Helsinki Committee in Oslo only two weeks ago, and was impressed by the dedication and passion he demonstrated for the development of democratic processes in Russia.

Shlosberg is member of the federal political committee of the Yabloko Party, and was elected to the regional Duma in his hometown Pskov. As editor of the newspaper Pskovskaya Guberniya he investigated the deaths of several Russian paratroopers in Eastern Ukraine, which led to an attack on his person in the street and removal of his mandate in the Duma. Pskovskaya Guberniya received the Fritt Ord/Zeit-Stiftung Press Prize for Russia and Eastern Europe in 2015 upon nomination from the NHC.

From an initial list of 46 nominees, readers of Novaya Gazeta were invited to vote for the five candidates that should be shortlisted. The other four included the actionist artist Petr Pavlensky, the imprisoned activist Ildar Dadin, opposition politician and corruption activist Aleksey Navalnyy, the imprisoned Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, and the satirist Viktor Shenderovich. At a board meeting in the foundation on 21 May, the secret vote showed Shlosberg as the winner.

The laureate Lev Shlosberg himself uttered a pragmatic approach in an interview to the Moscow Times: “I am grateful to receive this award, but it's a sad award; it is not a reason for joy. It was created in the memory of the slain man who defended his beliefs. It would be much better if he was alive.”

The opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was murdered on 27 February 2015, and the people behind the murder have yet to be established. The Boris Nemtsov Foundation was established in Germany the following November upon the initiative of his daughter Zhanna Nemtsova. The board of trustees is chaired by Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr. and deputy chair Julius von Freytag-Loringhoven.

Following the murder, the location of the shooting has become a site of commemoration and reflection for his many followers and an increasing number of disgruntled citizens of the Russian Federation. Despite repeated clean-up operations removing flowers and pictures, well-organised volunteers guard the memorial site and make sure it resurrects after each episode.

The latest updates on the investigation can be found on the site of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation. http://nemtsovfund.org/en/category/investigation/

Read the report about the Oslo panel debate on elections here  

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee was present in Bonn during the Prize ceremony on 12 June and was moved by the laureate's speech "Boris Nemtsov Bridge". Read it here in English and Russian