“I think it’s pretty clear, and I think we have been pretty outspoken on this, whether it’s the beatings of journalists or the imprisonment of political figures,” Mr. Steinberg said, noting that this did not impede the reset in relations with Russia.
Mr. Steinberg noted: “Obviously, one always expects opposition figures to want more. That is their job.”
“I have no illusion about help from America. I don’t think an American president or the American Congress will establish democracy in my country,” he said, adding that this was the job of Russians and Russians alone.
“But I think the position of the U.S. establishment is important for the atmosphere around the Kremlin,” he said.
Mr. Nemtsov was particularly critical of a decision by Mr. McFaul to launch a civil-society dialogue with Vladislav Surkov, a Putin loyalist who founded Russian nationalist youth organizations that Mr. Nemtsov likened to Nazi youth groups in Germany under Adolf Hitler.
For now, Mr. Nemtsov is worried about the future of his country, but he seems less concerned for his own safety. When asked whether he has to have bodyguards in Moscow, he said he did not. When asked who protects him, he gave a one-word answer: “God.”
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