POLITICS
03/02/2015 05:38 pm ET Updated Mar 03, 2015

Obama: Boris Nemtsov Killing A Sign Of Worsening Climate In Russia

President Barack Obama said the murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov is a sign of a worsening climate in Russia.

"This is an indication of a climate at least inside of Russia in which civil society, independent journalists, people trying to communicate on the Internet, have felt increasingly threatened, constrained," Obama said in an interview with Reuters published Monday. "And increasingly the only information that the Russian public is able to get is through state-controlled media outlets."

Nemtsov was shot dead in late February near the Kremlin. Thousands gathered days after his murder to march in his honor.

Obama said he didn't know details of the murder but said Nemtsov's killing signaled bigger problems in the country.

"I have no idea at this point exactly what happened. What I do know is more broadly the fact that freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of information, basic civil rights and civil liberties inside of Russia are in much worse shape now than they were four or five, ten years ago," Obama told Reuters.

On Friday, Obama condemned the murder of Nemtsov, calling on the Russian government to launch "a prompt, impartial, and transparent investigation into the circumstances of his murder and ensure that those responsible for this vicious killing are brought to justice."

"Nemtsov was a tireless advocate for his country, seeking for his fellow Russian citizens the rights to which all people are entitled," Obama said.

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