Boris Nemtsov, the Russian opposition politician who was shot dead Friday in front of the Kremlin, once considered seeking political asylum in Lithuania, that country's former Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius has said.
Kubilius told Delfi.lt news website on Saturday that Nemtsov had asked the politician in 2012 whether he would be eligible for asylum if he was charged in the so-called Bolotnoye case over mass anti-Kremlin riots in Moscow.
"I told him then: stay in Lithuania now," Kubilius said, referring to Nemtsov's visit to Rukla in Lithuania in 2012. "He, of course, was considering [applying for asylum] only hypothetically," he added.
Hundreds of protesters were detained in May 2012 after a huge protest against Vladimir Putin's return to the presidency took a violent turn. Opposition activists claimed they were provoked by police, but the Investigative Committee classified the incident as a "mass riot," subsequently slapping 33 people with legal charges.
Nemtsov himself was detained during the riots, but no charges were put against him.