(CNN)The daughter of one of Russia's most prominent opposition leaders, shot dead earlier this year just paces from the Kremlin, says Russian President Vladimir Putin's popularity can be chalked up to propaganda and "nostalgia."
Putin is a 'Soviet man,' says daughter of slain opposition leader
"He is a very Soviet man. He is of this culture. He is not more than a tool," Zhanna Nemtsova told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Friday.
"Putin has two truths: He has oil price and propaganda. He used to have oil price as the source of his support."
"Now oil prices fell down. They lost half of its value. Now he has only one tool left, and that is propaganda. And that is why he is so popular in Russia."
Putin, who has held the role of president or prime minister since 2000, was a member of the KGB for more than 15 years -- notably as an agent in East Germany during the collapse of the Soviet Union.
On the eve of Russia's intervention in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Putin's approval rating, though down from the beginning of 2015, remained at a level any Western leader would envy, 72%, according to Reuters, citing a poll by the Public Opinion Foundation.
Nemtsova's father, Boris Nemtsov, was shot dead this February on a bridge in the shadow of Russia's main government building.
President Putin called the murder a "disgrace" and ordered an investigation. But many in the opposition blame the Russian leader, at least indirectly, for the murder.
Nemtsov, one of Putin's fiercest and most vocal critics, had been due at the time of his death to release a report on Russia's involvement in the war in Ukraine. The Kremlin denies direct involvement in eastern Ukraine.
"Russian propaganda creates an atmosphere of hatred. It provokes violence, also uncontrolled violence," Nemtsova told Amanpour. "And people are filled with this hatred and aggression, not only towards opposition leaders but towards the West as a whole."
"And that's why I think that it is a criminal thing which is done by the Russian media. And that's why I blame them -- not directly, but it created the atmosphere in which this killing had become possible."
Two suspects were formally charged with the murder earlier this year. Nemtsova called them "triggermen."
There is "little hope" for an investigation, she said, but she said it's important to keep the case in the public eye.
That, she said, the Russian government doesn't like -- "and I know that for sure," she said with a laugh.
"Russia -- it's a country of secrets. Everything is secret in Russia."
It was for standing up to that reality, Nemtsova said -- being a constant thorn in the side of those in power -- that her father paid the ultimate price.
The war in Ukraine was hardly Nemtsov's only area of criticism. In December 2013, he published a report titled "Winter Olympics in the Sub-Tropics: Corruption and Abuse in Sochi," alleging "cronyism and censorship" contributed to massive overspending in putting on the games, the most expensive in history.
"You interviewed Medvedev on this matter," Nemtsova said, referring to Amanpour's 2014 interview with the Russian Prime Minister, "and you asked him about corruption and he didn't give the answers because they do not want the truth to be revealed."
"And my father did it -- he revealed the truth. He was very brave and he was the one who could unite other leaders of [the] opposition and people. And I think it's because of his general activities as an opposition leader for 10 years (that) he was killed."
"He was a real democrat and a liberal and he wanted change for Russia."
Just as her father feared for his safety, so too does Nemtsova fear for hers.
"He would have never expected that he would be killed. And of course, I think about that."