6 Former antinuclear activist joins new Russian Government

Publish date: March 18, 1997

Written by: Igor Kudrik

Boris Nemtsov, recently appointed first vice prime-minister by the President of Russia, started his political career as an antinuclear activist.

In 1986, after the Chernobyl accident, senior researcher at the Scientific Research Radio-physical Institute, Boris Nemtsov, joined a campaign collecting signatures against the construction of Gorkiy Nuclear Power plant in Nizhniy Novgorod County. Later on he was one of the organisers of the county public foundation called "For nuclear safety".

In 1989 the foundation promoted Nemtsov as a candidate to the Supreme Soviet of USSR, although Nemtsov had not taken part in the election campaign. The communist majority of the regional election committee refused his candidature. In 1990 Nemtsov became a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of Russia. In December 1991, after the USSR break-up, Yeltsin signed a decree appointing Nemtsov governor of Nizhniy Novgorod county.

The Nuclear Power Plant in Nizhniy Novgorod county never was to be constructed.

There seems to be some justification within this story for believing that Nemtsov might create a much needed opposition to the nuclear lobby, which traditionally has had a very strong position within the Russian Government.