I met Boris Nemtsov in the early evening last Monday at Shamrock, an Irish pub downstairs from the Ekho Moskvy radio station, where he was due to go on air two hours later.

He was wolfing down a salad and drinking big glasses of multivitamin juice because he had flu. He was coughing all the time, but that did nothing to diminish his energy.

It turned out to be one of Mr Nemtsov’s last interviews before he was shot dead in Moscow on Friday evening.

What follows are edited highlights from our discussion.

On the state of present day Russia:

On the need for ‘healthy patience’:

On Putin:

On Putin’s inner circle:

We chatted about German chancellor Angela Merkel, whom Mr Nemtsov likes and knew from her days in eastern Germany. He recalled defending her to then prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

“She also hated Putin. I met her around her last birthday. And she still asked me: ‘Is he gone?’” And then Mr Nemtsov laughed so hard it triggered another cough attack.

On Putin’s future:

On ‘the absolute low point’:

On Russia’s state TV:

We ended our discussion on the subject of Russia’s war dead in Ukraine, and the risk they pose to Mr Putin’s grip on power:

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