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Not Your Average Citizen

A film by Lucy Egisserian

This is a story of a man who faced crucial choices and had no illusions about the consequences involved. Yet, time and again, he made his choice as a free man in a country where such a choice became increasingly dangerous. The country is Putin’s Russia. The man is Boris Nemtsov. On February 27th, 2015, Boris Nemtsov, once tapped as Russia’s next president, was assassinated in front of the Kremlin.

The documentary will explore the life of Boris Nemtsov and the myths surrounding him. His critics and enemies, who try to marginalize him as a man without integrity and one driven purely by personal ambitions, accuse Nemtsov of pandering to the masses solely for the sake of fame and fortune. His friends describe Boris as the one who broke all the rules of Russian politics and revolutionized the common perception of Russian politicians. They admire his love for life, his courage, his uncompromising honesty and openness, and his optimism that transcended physical assault and death threats.

He is viewed by many as a Russian Kennedy. He had the looks, the charisma, and the power to inspire and to lead. His life and career were full of triumphs and failures. Nemtsov became the youngest deputy prime minister in Russian history only to lose to oligarchs in the Kremlin intrigues. He founded and led the only true opposition party in the Russian Parliament, but failed spectacularly in the election and withdrew as a leader. This loss marked the turning point in the modern Russian politics from the progressive democratic reforms to the authoritarian rule.

The film will follow Nemtsov along his path from the Duma to the streets. A former Number Two in the government is becoming a street rally organizer and a leading critic of Putin’s regime. As the regime launches the assault on a few democratic gains Russia had made in the Yeltsin/Gorbachev era, the situation in the country worsens dramatically. Intimidation and direct threats force other opposition figures to leave the country – but not Nemtsov. He launches an investigation of Russia’s illegal occupation of Ukraine. The proverbial noose tightens around his neck. Threats grow in number; friends beg him to leave. He knows that the price of freedom can be death. He makes his final choice and stays. He pays the price.

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