Putin Critic Boris Nemtsov Shot Dead

Boris Nemtsov, a former Russian deputy prime minister turned prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead today on a street in central Moscow, the Interior Ministry told the Interfax news agency.

The Russian-language news website Meduza reported that Nemtsov was walking with a woman near the Kremlin at the time of the attack. A spokesman told Interfax that at least seven shots were fired at Nemtsov from a passing car.

Police are investigating, Interfax said.

Nemstov, 55, was the head of the opposition Republican Party of Russia-People's Freedom Party. He served as governor of the Novgorod region and as deputy prime minister in the 1990s. As NPR reported in 2007, in the 1990s Nemtsov "was an icon of democratic reform, a crusading minister anointed by former President Boris Yeltsin to be his political heir."

He became an opposition leader and sharp critic of Putin in the early part of the last decade.

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