Contact: Barbara Becker, EqualShot, 917-727-1094
Russian Pro-Democracy Campaigner, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Wins 2018 Civil Courage Prize
New York, NY — Vladimir Kara-Murza, the Russian pro-democracy leader, will receive the 19th annual Civil Courage Prize on Thursday, October 18. He is a survivor of two poisoning attempts, which are widely believed to be retaliation for his outspoken criticism of the Kremlin. Senator John McCain regarded Kara-Murza as a “personal hero” and selected him to serve as a pallbearer at the Senator’s funeral last month.
The Train Foundation has awarded the prize since 2000. Recipients have played leading roles in resisting evil and injustice at great personal risk. Ambassador William Burns, President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, will be the keynote speaker at the award ceremony. Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations, will lead a conversation with Kara-Murza.
Vladimir Kara-Murza is chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom and vice chairman of the Open Russia movement. A journalist, author and documentary filmmaker, Kara-Murza’s mission is for Russia to become a free and democratic country, where the rule of law governs, and human rights are respected. He currently writes regular commentaries for the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, World Affairs and other publications.
As a longtime colleague of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian opposition leader, he played a key role in the passage of the Magnitsky Act, a U.S. law that imposed targeted sanctions on Russian human rights violators. The late Senator John McCain, the bill’s co-sponsor, became another close friend and associate.
In 2015, Nemtsov was murdered on a bridge in sight of the Kremlin. Three months later, and again in 2017, Kara-Murza was poisoned by an unknown substance he says was not
an “ordinary weapon…you can’t go into a pharmacy and buy it.” Both times, he was in a
coma with a very low chance of survival. Kara-Murza has led international efforts to commemorate Nemtsov, including with the 2018 Washington D.C. law designating the block in front of the Russian Embassy as Boris Nemtsov Plaza.
Born in Moscow in 1981, Kara-Murza holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from Cambridge University. He is a former deputy leader of the People’s Freedom Party and was a candidate for the Russian State Duma.
Because of continuing threats, Kara-Murza lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and three children while he travels back and forth to Russia. "No matter how powerful the forces against, them, when people are prepared to stand up for what they believe, they succeed. That’s the basis of my hope for the future of Russia," he said.
Vladimir Kara-Murza will also be in conversation with The New Yorker editor David Remnick on Tuesday, October 16.
To attend either event as a member of the media, please contact Barbara Becker.
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