Sharon Rivera

Associate Professor of Government Sharon Werning Rivera recently published an article in a special issue of Demokratizatsiya honoring the life and career of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. In February 2015, Nemtsov, a prominent voice among the few remaining vocal critics of Vladimir Putin’s regime, was shot and killed on a bridge next to the Kremlin. 

In “Nemtsov and Democracy in Nizhny Novgorod,” Rivera reflected on Nemstov’s death and on his legacy as governor of Nizhny Novgorod in the immediate aftermath of communism’s collapse.

Rivera presented data from elite interviews she conducted in Nizhny Novogorod, Tatarstan and Moscow in the mid-1990s in cooperation with the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Sociology. These data revealed that in comparison with both Tatarstan and Moscow, local parliamentarians and bureaucrats in Nizhny Novgorod during Nemtsov’s governorship espoused a higher level of democratic, market-oriented and non-imperialist values.

Rivera inferred that the region’s relatively liberal ethos likely stemmed from the values and priorities of Nemtsov’s administration. 

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