Sharon Rivera

A chapter co-authored by Associate Professor of Government Sharon Werning Rivera appears in Boris Nemtsov and Russian Politics: Power and Resistance (ibidem Press). “Governing Nizhny Novgorod: Boris Nemtsov as a Regional Leader” was written with Vladimir Gel’man of the European University at St. Petersburg and the University of Helsinki.

In the chapter, Rivera and Gel’man examine the legacy of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov by focusing on his tenure as governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region immediately following communism’s collapse in 1991.

After making a brief case for an elite-driven approach to analyzing post-communist political transformations—paying particular attention to the role of “elite settlements” in regime change—the authors proceed to analyze the politics of Nizhny Novgorod before, during, and after Nemtsov’s governorship against the background of the turbulent dynamics of Russian politics in the 1990s.

Using both case study research and evidence from a survey of Russian national and regional elites conducted in 1996, Rivera and Gel’man argue that Nemtsov’s leadership contributed greatly to the advancement of democratization and economic reforms in the region. These successes were short-lived, however, fading soon after Nemtsov’s departure from the region in 1997.

Edited by Andrey Makarychev and Alexandra Yatsyk, Boris Nemtsov and Russian Politics: Power and Resistance was unveiled at a book presentation in Washington, D.C., in February, close to the third anniversary Nemtsov’s death. A prominent voice among the few remaining vocal critics of Vladimir Putin’s regime, Nemtsov was assassinated near the Kremlin on Feb. 27, 2015.

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