Nemtsov's daughter to receive $1.5 million Polish rights prize

Zhanna Nemtsova, daughter of murdered Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, in a file photo.
Zhanna Nemtsova, daughter of murdered Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, in a file photo.AFP

WARSAW (AFP) - Poland on Friday awarded the journalist daughter of slain Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov a million-euro (S$1.5 million) prize for championing democracy and human rights.

Zhanna Nemtsova, 31, announced last month that she had left Russia, slamming the climate of "violence and terror" whipped up by pro-Kremlin propaganda. Her lawyer said she had gone to Europe and had no immediate plans to return.

"She is a symbol... of the struggle waged by her father. A struggle for an open Russia, for peaceful coexistence in solidarity with its neighbours," Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said in a statement.

A vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Nemtsov was gunned down on Feb 27 in Moscow in an assassination the opposition blamed on the Kremlin.

Russian authorities deny any involvement.

Zhanna, his eldest daughter who works for Russian business news channel RBK, will receive the million-euro Solidarity Prize on Aug 4 at a ceremony in Warsaw.

Poland set up the annual award last year to mark the 25th anniversary of its first semi-free elections, which heralded the demise of communism.

The name is a nod to the Solidarity trade union of anti-communist icon Lech Walesa, who went on to become president and a Nobel Peace laureate.

The leader of Crimea's Tatar community, 71-year-old Ukrainian lawmaker and Soviet-era dissident Mustafa Dzhemilev, picked up the inaugural 2014 award for defending the rights of his people.