Anastasia Shevchenko awarded the 2019 Boris Nemtsov Prize
Anastasia Shevchenko received the Boris Nemtsov Prize in recognition of her courageous efforts for a free and democratic Russia
On ‘Russia Day’, 12 June, more than 400 people were arrested in Moscow during demonstrations against the detention of Ivan Golunov. That same day, the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom awarded the 4th Boris Nemtsov Prize to Russian activist Anastasia Shevchenko – in recognition of her courageous efforts for a free and democratic Russia. Anastasia Shevchenko works for the ‘Open Russia’ movement and has been under house arrest since January 2019.
Her youngest daughter Vladislava Shevchenko accepted the prize on her behalf from Zhanna Nemtsova, Boris Nemtsov’s daughter and founder of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom.
‘My mother is strong, but she needs support. She would like her voice to continue to be heard, and heard even louder, by even more people. Over the past five months, I have become her voice.’ Since January, Vlada Shevchenko has been reporting regularly on social media on the reality of house arrest.
In his laudatory speech, Bijan Djir-Sarai, a member of the Bundestag and foreign policy spokesman of the Free Democrat group in the German Bundestag, praised the laureate as ‘an example of many people in Russia standing up for their own rights, but also for the rights of others, by peaceful means.’
‘Let us take Boris Nemtsov and today’s nominees as examples of those who were not silent in the face of injustice and abuses.’
Defending human rights and democracy in Russia takes more and more courage each year. More and more frequently, those standing up for human rights, activists, journalists, and courageous people are in danger because of their work and their views. In 2019 again, new laws were passed that can be applied arbitrarily to further reduce the scope of action for political engagement.
The Boris Nemtsov Prize has been awarded since 2016 by the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom, supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, to courageous individuals for their efforts for a free and democratic Russia. The prize is named for the former Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated in 2015 within sight of the Kremlin. To this day his murder has not been solved. Previous laureates include the activist Nadezhda Mityushkina, the civil rights campaigner Ildar Dadin, and the politician Lev Shlosberg.
Brief portrait of Anastasia Shevchenko Shevchenko is an activist and a member of the ‘Open Russia’ movement. She was placed under house arrest in January 2019 and is the first person to be prosecuted under the ‘undesirable organisations law’ passed in 2015. If convicted, she faces up to six years’ imprisonment. Amnesty International has called the proceedings against Shevchenko ‘a new level of repression’ in Russia and considers her a political prisoner.