Vladimir Kara-Murza is a Russian democracy activist, politician, author, and filmmaker. He was a longtime colleague of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and chairs the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom. Kara-Murza is a former deputy leader of the People’s Freedom Party and was a candidate for the Russian State Duma. He has testified before Parliaments in Europe and North America and played a key role in the passage of the Magnitsky legislation that imposed targeted sanctions on Russian human rights violators in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, and several EU countries.
Before his death, U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called Kara-Murza “one of the most passionate and effective advocates for passage of the Magnitsky Act”; U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) described him as “a courageous advocate for the democratic process and fundamental universal human rights.” Twice, in 2015 and 2017, Kara-Murza was poisoned and left in a coma; the attempts on his life were widely viewed as retribution by the Kremlin for his work on the Magnitsky sanctions.
He is a contributing writer at the Washington Post and hosted a weekly show on Echo of Moscow radio, before it was a casualty to the Kremlin’s crackdown on dissent. He has previously worked for the BBC, RTVi, Kommersant, and other media outlets. He has directed three documentary films, They Chose Freedom, Nemtsov, and My Duty to Not Stay Silent; and is the author of Reform or Revolution: The Quest for Responsible Government in the First Russian State Duma and a contributor to several volumes, including Russian Liberalism: Ideas and People, Europe Whole and Free: Vision and Reality, and Boris Nemtsov and Russian Politics: Power and Resistance. Kara-Murza has led successful international efforts to commemorate Nemtsov, including with street designations in Washington D.C. and Vilnius.
He serves as vice president at the Free Russia Foundation, as senior advisor for human rights accountability at Human Rights First, and as senior fellow at the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights; and has been a visiting fellow at the University of Chicago, leading a seminar course on contemporary Russia. Kara-Murza has been profiled on CBS 60 Minutes and NBC Nightly News, and has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and BBC Newsnight. He is a recipient of several awards, including the Sakharov Prize for Journalism as an Act of Conscience, the Magnitsky Human Rights Award, and the Geneva Summit Courage Award. He holds an M.A. (Cantab.) in History from Cambridge. He is married, with three children.