An important Russian opposition politician was shot dead in Moscow on Friday, February 27, days before his planned march against the war in Ukraine.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov has been shot four times in the back as he was crossing the Moskvoretsky Bridge in the company of a woman. This event took place at about 23:40 (20:40 GMT). It seems “several people” got out of a white car and proceeded with the crime.
According to the spokesperson for President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, the President assumed “personal control” of the investigation. He added that the crime “bears the hallmarks of a contract killing”.
U.S. President Barack Obama expressed his deepest regrets and asked the Russian government for a “prompt, impartial and transparent investigation”.
Nemtsov began his political career in the 1990s as deputy prime minister during Boris Yeltsin’s presidency. He then became the governor of Nizhny Novgorod, one of Russia’s largest cities.
The next president, Putin, did not maintain close relationships with Nemtsov who, during that time became an “outspoken opposition politician”.
He publicly expressed his opposition towards Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis and Crimea’s annexation to Russia.
He was also planning a march against both state of affairs and the economic crisis that the country was battling with. The event was supposed to take place Sunday March 1.
It seems Nemtsov had received several threats via social media but, according to his lawyer, there are no clear conclusions as to why he was targeted. However, in a recent interview, Mr. Nemtsov expressed his fears regarding the possibility of Putin wanting him killed due to his opposition to the Ukraine war.
He is not the only Putin opponent to have suffered such a dramatic end:
- In 2003 liberal politician Sergey Yushenkov was assassinated at home and investigative journalist Yuri Shchekochikhin died after 16 days of experiencing an odd illness
- In 2004 the Russian editor of Forbes magazine Paul Klebnikov was shot on the street and later died in the hospital
- In 2006 investigative journalist Anna Politkovskayawas also shot dead near her home, former spy Alexander Litvinenko died three weeks after drinking tea that contained polonium
- In 2013 Boris Berezovsky, former Kremlin power broker then Putin opponent was found dead in his home in U.K.
Image Source: Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty