Boris Nemtsov, the leader of Russian opposition and a top political nemesis of Vladimir Putin was shot dead on the night of February 28th. His killer escaped in a white car and is still wanted by police.
Nemtsov was reportedly walking on a bridge just outside the Kremlin with a female acquaintance, a Ukrainian citizen, when a killer drove up in a white vehicle and shot Nemtsov in the chest four times.
The 55-year-old politician was prime minister in the 90s government of Boris Yeltsin. Hours before the shooting, the leader of Russian opposition appeared on Ekho Moskvy, calling liberal Russians to attend a march called “Vesna” (“Spring” in Russian) planned for this Sunday. “If one hundred thousand people show up, those cooked-up 86% (the number indicates Vladimir Putin’s recent approval rating – ValueWalk) will immediately fall apart,” he told Ekho Moskvy. It was meant to be a demonstration against Putin’s government and was to be held in one of Moscow’s suburbs.
“The president said this brutal killing bears all the hallmarks of a contract murder and is of an exclusively provocative character,” Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin , told Russian news agencies.
This killing is “part of what has allowed I think Russia to engage in the sort of aggression that it has against Ukraine,” Barack Obama told Reuters in an interview on Monday. The President of the United States met Nemtsov during a trip in 2009 to Moscow, where Obama held talks with opposition parties.
Meanwhile, the press office of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement on Saturday: “The Secretary-General was shocked by and condemns the brutal killing of Boris Nemtsov in Moscow on 27 February”. He also expressed his condolences to Nemtsov’s family, friends and supporters.
Let’s examine some of Nemtsov’s most memorable words on the subject of Putin, Russia, Ukraine, the war, and…political murders.
Nemtsov: “I’m afraid Putin will kill me”; “They can gun us all down”
In his most recent interview to Russia’s Sobesednik news website on 10 February, just 3 weeks ago, Boris Nemtsov said: “Each time I call my mother, she asks me “When are you going to stop scolding Putin? He will kill you!”, and I mean it… She’s really scared that he might kill me for my speeches anytime soon – in real life and in social media”.
When asked by an interviewer whether he was personally afraid of that, Nemstov replied: “You know, yes… A little. Not as much as my mother, but still… But I’m not very afraid of him. I doubt that I would have been the leader of the opposition party and would be doing what I do if I was very afraid”.
The interview concluded by Milchanovska Elena, the Sobesednik interviewer, saying: “I hope common sense will prevail and Putin will not kill you”. Boris Nemstov responded to that by saying, “Well, God, I hope so, too”. So why didn’t common sense prevail?
During his interview on radio station Ekho Moskvy in Moscow on April 2003, Nemtsov spoke about the previous Russian political murders: “They haven’t found the murderers of Starovoitova, Manevich or Golovleva yet, nobody. This is of course a mess that has become an everyday thing in Russia, and it creates unbearable conditions. I mean, they can actually gun us all down”.
Just a few hours before the shooting, Nemtsov appeared on Ekho Moskvy, speaking out on the Ukrainian-Russian crisis: “When you ask the relatives of all those who have died in the war about why did their relatives go to war, they talk about Ukraine being “occupied by fascists” and the “crucifixion of a boy” in Slavyansk. They stir up hatred, and in doing so they send naive people to their death”.
Furthermore, in his interview to Ukrainian Channel 5 he called Putin’s policy “genocide against the Russian people”. “I have no doubt that the social protests will be building up, because his [Putin’s] policy is a genocide against the Russian people. I mean, Russians live like in some African country”.
Nemtsov: “Putin turned Russia into China’s colony of raw materials”
As a conclusion, let’s look into the facts which Nemtsov presented on his Facebook page on October 14, 2014:
“Here are some stark facts:
1. The Sila Sibiri gas pipeline is being built without any agreement on the price for gas. The project is worth over 55 billion US dollars, and it is known to be unprofitable. Therefore, Russia will subsidize gas export to China.
2. Rosneft got a 70 billion US dollars loan from China on account of future supplies. Essentially, unextracted oil has been sold for long years to come.
3. The Chinese have gotten their share of the Vankorski oil field, one of the largest in Siberia.
4. The Chinese have become co-owners of the arctic oil fields which belonged to Timchenko’s Novatek.
5. The Chinese have become the shareholders of Uralkali, the largest potash fertilizer production company.
6. The Chinese are providing VEB and VTB with their loans exclusively for the purchase of Chinese products. The so-called ‘tied loans’ is basically an echo from Soviet times, they develop the Chinese economy, not ours.
7. Putin sells China the most sophisticated weaponry: Su-35 jet fighters and the S-400 anti-aircraft weapon systems. The most modern submarines are next in turn.
Taking into account that the population ratio is ten Chinese per one Russian, and that the GDP of China is 5 times bigger than the Russian GDP, it is not difficult to guess how events are going to develop. Propagandists are yelling that the main Putin’s merit is the protection of Russia’s sovereignty. That’s a blatant lie. Russia is rapidly becoming China’s colony. Russia is losing its sovereignty. And that is the main point of the Kremlin’s modern foreign policy”.