Vladimir Kara-Murza is a leading Russian democracy activist and politician who twice survived being poisoned by Russia’s Federal Security Service. Kara-Murza went into a coma and nearly died from both poisoning attempts, which were widely viewed as retribution for his vocal opposition to the Kremlin. Kara-Murza’s decades of leadership in Russian politics and his effective advocacy for the passage of the Magnitsky Act worldwide have made him a top enemy of the Putin regime.
Kara-Murza was a longtime colleague of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and chairs the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom. Kara-Murza is a former deputy leader of the People’s Freedom Party and was a candidate for the Russian State Duma. He has testified before Parliaments in Europe and North America and played a key role in the adoption of the Magnitsky mechanism that imposed targeted sanctions on Russian human rights violators in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, and the European Union. U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called Kara-Murza “one of the most passionate and effective advocates for passage of the Magnitsky Act,” while U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) described him as “a courageous advocate for the democratic process and fundamental universal human rights.”
He is a contributing writer at the Washington Post and hosts a weekly show on Echo of Moscow radio, and has previously worked for the BBC, RTVi, Kommersant, and other media outlets. He has directed three documentary films, They Chose Freedom, Nemtsov, and My Duty to Not Stay Silent; and is the author of Reform or Revolution: The Quest for Responsible Government in the First Russian State Duma and a contributor to several volumes, including Russian Liberalism: Ideas and People, Europe Whole and Free: Vision and Reality, and Boris Nemtsov and Russian Politics: Power and Resistance. Kara-Murza has led successful international efforts to commemorate Nemtsov, including with street designations in Washington D.C. and Vilnius.
He serves as vice president at the Free Russia Foundation, as senior advisor for human rights accountability at Human Rights First, and as senior fellow at the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights; and has been a visiting fellow at the University of Chicago, leading a seminar course on contemporary Russia. Kara-Murza has been profiled on CBS 60 Minutes and NBC Nightly News, and has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and BBC Newsnight. He is a recipient of several awards, including the Sakharov Prize for Journalism as an Act of Conscience, the Magnitsky Human Rights Award, and the Geneva Summit Courage Award.
Kara-Murza holds an M.A. (Cantab.) in History from Cambridge. He is married, with three children.