Murder of Boris Nemtsov

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Red Square, Moscow. Boris ‪Nemtsov‬ was assassinated on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge (center) between the 5th and 6th lampposts, behind the Kremlin towers on the right. After leaving the restaurant at the GUM department store on the left Nemtsov and Anna reportedly walked around the square, giving the assassins time to position themselves at the stairwell on the bridge.
The scene of the murder. The exact place is the embankment on the Kremlin side of the bridge, north of the stairwell leading down to ground level.
Flowers on the bridge in August 2015
Boris Nemtsov with Finnish MP / MEP / Minister Heidi Hautala (left) in Saint Petersburg during Strategy 31 protests on the 31th day of the month

On February 27, 2015, at around 23:31 h Boris Nemtzov was murdered by multiple gunshots on the foot of Moskvoretskiy bridge in central Moscow.

Profile

Boris Nemtsov was a young bright star in times of Yeltsin presidency, a young reformer, Governor of Nizhnii Novgorod, then Deputy Prime Minister. He took part in setting out reborn Russian state after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but his name was also associated with painful "shock therapy" reforms and economic hardships it brought. He resigned shortly after the market and ruble crash of 1998. He was in a 'non-system opposition" during Putin presidency; co-chair of a political party RPR-PARNAS (currently no seats in Duma, and one seat--himself--in Yaroslavl local Duma); and one of the leaders of Solidarnost movement in Russia. In 2008-2010, he published a study "Putin. The results" (Itogi). The study was critical and thoughtful but not inflammatory or especially controversial; it quite heavily used statistical information and so had somewhat academic feel to it (possibly reflecting his education and research background). The study may have been ahead of time when it first appeared; but currently this material is comparable to common knowledge in the field, and does not have public controversy attached to it.

Criticism of authorities

On or about 29 April, 2014 made a rude comment about Putin, in an interview to Ukrainian press about Ukrainian affairs. Interview was recorded on video and featured on youtube. A complaint to authorities was made by a Russian citizen alleging a crime. Linguistic investigation determined it was an expression of opinion (meaning basically that the president is strange/odd) , and not an insult of an official. The criminal case was dropped.

27.2.2015 Gives an interview to opposition media source Echo Moskvy, critical of Russia actions in Donbas and Crimea, on grounds of violating international law, e.g. Budapest memorandum, and not telling the truth on military involvement.

Assassination

Killed at 23:31 local time on 27.2.2015 in central Moscow on Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge.

Predictions

20.2.2012 (three years prior). Putin, speaking to law enforcement officials:

"...as for provocations, at meetings and so on ...I already talked about that...hoping that it will not come to that, that everybody will remain within the framework of the constitutional [legal] field... and that provocations against the law enforcement would fail...because those you have talked about, they want to instigate all sorts of clashes, and do all they can to make it happen...They even can themselves 'sacrifice' somebody, and than blame the authorities. I know this methodology and tactics, they were trying to use it for the last 10 years already . And primarily those who sit abroad. I am telling you, I know about this.

0:50 They even seek for the so called sacrificial [lamb] victim, from the ranks of some well-visible [public] figures ...They will kill [грохнут -russ, spoken/rude (make a loud blow),=kill] themselves, and than blame the authorities. They have such sort of people, they are capable of anything. I am talking without an exaggeration. I am hoping that people who genuinely want to improve things in the country, and using their rights to criticize, to participate in demonstrations/meetings, will resist [being drawn into such provocations]. But everybody should be aware of this"

Photos

Debates

Evgenii Fedorov vs Boris Nemtsov talk show debate, Ksenia Sobchak moderates, published on Mar 30, 2015. Super, -but in Russian only.

Primary Sources

  • Security video camera -TVC.ru A video from a security camera emerged (also here) "An all-weather video camera records Moskvoretsky bridge around the clock.It recorded the crime up to the second. Low quality footage, but the cars and people silhouettes can be seen. Normal Moscow evening. On the bridge there are still a lot of cars and passers-by. 23.30 - the two of them, presumably, Boris Nemtsov and his companion, walk towards Bolotnaya Square. Slowly catching up with them moves a snow-blower (= a machine which removes snow). At 23.31 the snow-blower hides them from the camera. After a moment, another man rushes out into the roadway, quickly gets into a car and drives away(???).
later comments: there is a stairway going under the bridge right there. Apparently the person (the killer) was hiding there at the stairway.
Snow-blower stops a few meters away from the scene. There is only one silhouette - presumably the Nemtsov's lady companion . Than she approaches the snow-blower driver. For a few minutes she stays behind the snow-blower. On the bridge there are still pedestrians walking. Some people pass by as if nothing had happened, others are interested and stop. One person examines the place of Nemtsov death , and runs up to the snow -blower, whereby the girl stays. Then he returns to the body of the deceased. At 23.35 the first car stops here and a few seconds later leaves. The girl returns to the crime scene. Two more people approach. At 23.37 another car flies past. Dramatically slows down and comes back. Stands in front of the scene for a while. Two people suddenly run away under the bridge. A third car arrives, and than both cars leave. The girl is left alone. Another person passes by. At 23.42 police arrived on the scene. From under the bridge two people emerge - presumably those that fled, - the question is why?"
  • Witness. Anna Duritskaya: "The murder of Boris happened on the bridge. I did not see it, because it was happening behind my back" 0:49 on the video. (Arrived to Kiev 03.02.15).
Longer clip. She has not seen anything.
More security cameras footage taken at the GUM-Lifenews
  • Dashboard camera footage, high quality but not much to see. Apparently passes at ~23:35 h (runs on summer time/lives to the South). Video title is "3 minutes after Nemtsov murder-Dashboard video".
  • Brief interview with snow truck driver. Does not add much. Except that the girl ran towards him, and was panicking. He did not stay long, continued with his work, did not know who was killed.

Finally, regarding crimes against Boris Yefimovich Nemtsov. I was acquainted with him personally and we did not always have bad relations with him. I, on my part, never spoiled relations with him. But he has chosen such a path of political struggle - personal attacks, and so on. I'm used to it, he is not alone. But this is not the fact that a man should be killed. I will never accept this. I think this is a crime that should be investigated and the perpetrators - punished.

You said that they are either hiding in Chechnya, or went abroad, it is necessary to establish - is it this way, or another. I have never discussed these issues with regional leaders, including the leadership of the Chechen Republic, and I am not going to. The investigation should determine. No matter how long, by the way, it will last. Here we had the murder of Starovoitova. She, too, was a member of the opposition to a certain extent. Still, the law enforcement brought the case to its logical conclusion, as well as several other cases against people who have been in opposition to the government.

I believe that these things have to be investigated and the perpetrators exposed and punished. Thus, we will create a stable political system in our own country. It is more important than to cover someone, God forbid. No one is going to cover. But we need to wait for the data of objective investigation.

  • Duritskaya video interview with investigators emerged, 23 June 2016. She describes their schedule for the day and shows spa and restaurant they attended. There seem to be little useful detail about assassination itself. She is asked what lane was the car in 'from which shots were fired'. She replies 'I don't know, I have not seen the car' (2:08). 'And when the car was leaving?' 'When it was leaving, it was close, I think the closest lane' (in uncertain tone). 'And you were walking closer to the road?' 'Yes, I was walking closer to the road'. Clip ends here. In the report, there are more bits including
Halfway on the bridge, I heard clapping. I thought that firecrackers are exploding under the feet. Than I saw that Boris falls after 5-6 shots and realized what had happened. A light silver car quickly left the scene.
KP.ru publishes what is says to be interrogation record of Duritskaia, made next day after the murder. According to this, she was introduced to Nemtsov by billionaire Prohkhorov in June 2012 when on vacation in Turkey. They were dating, about 1-2 times a month, and he supported her since. Gave her 130K USD for 1 bedroom flat (according to KP, questioning her truthfulness here, there is a dilapidated single village house at this address, unlikely to have a double digit flat number (KP photo), near a high rise, in 1 hour drive from Kiev center; this KP assertion is not clear but seems plausible based on the map). Nemtsov was in Kiev on 12-13 February 2015 and stayed with her at a hotel, according to this document. He kept a contact with Ukrainian journalist Pavel Sheremet , and she is not aware of any other of his contacts in Ukraine. She arrived to Moscow Sheremetievo airport on 27 February 2015 at 12:50 pm, and he met her at the airport. Goes on to describe the rest of their day, known quite well from other sources by now.

Investigative Committee

Main page; appeal to witnesses to come forward

29 Jan. 2016 Murder and weapons charges in the final version are filed against Zaur Dadaev, Anzor and Shadid Gubashev, Temirlan Eskerhanov and Khamzat Bakhaev. This investigation is closed.

A separate criminal investigation is opened against Ruslan Muhudinov, who ordered and organized the crimes committed, and who since November 2015 is on the international wanted list, as well as other unidentified persons -investigative committee

Reliable Sources

Criminal proceedings started against the 5 directly involved (Dadaev, Gubashev brothers (2), Bakhaev, Eskerhanov) , and an 'alleged organizer' Ruslan Mukhudinov. The case appears to stop here. Timeline of events and the investigation is provided.

Sources

Anna Duritskaia arrived to Kiev-TSN.ua
  • Reconstruction of the murder by Lifenews, 03.03.15: According to police sources, surveillance on Nemtsov was conducted by his killers using three cars that changed six times during that day. It was possible to discover this using camera system "Flow" installed on the capital's streets. Reconstruction suggests that a car with the killer stopped under the bridge near the staircase ti drop him of; he went up, walked past Nemtsov , turned around and shot him. A car picked him up and sped away (English translation by FortRuss).
  • Komsomolskaia Pravda Claims that Duritskaia had two cell phones, the second one with a tracking device, quoting " a source close to the investigation". Article claims that she threw the tracking phone in a garbage bin after the murder. (Also claims that in the past she had worked for an escort agency, etc... reliability of all that information is uncertain ).
  • It is said that murder preparations were started in September 2014. Rosbalt, 19.11.2015
  • RBK investigation: where did Nemtsov case lead, RBK, 20.1.2016

Witnesses

Evgenii, was on the bridge at the time of the murder, listening to musics on earphones and looking at his smartphone. Saw a man on the ground in front of him, and another man running away. The killer was medium built, medium height, black hair 3-4 cm length; jumped over the low barrier/border stone that separates the roadway, got into the car waiting for him at the second from the right lane of traffic (description does not match heavy built, tall Dadaev).

Speculation

A march in Groznyi in January 2016 in support of Russian President Putin and Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov
Bereza denied: "What a nonsense", said Bereza in passing, hurrying up for Rada meeting on March 3. On her Facebook page, his colleague Victoria Siumar noted sarcastically: "typical picture, -tens of deputies with iPhones and eyes wide open approached my colleague Yuri Bereza to show him sites, where Anna Duritskaya was called his lover. At first, Yurii had even wider eyes than his colleagues. Than some interest showed up. He started to think, why it was not Jennifer Lopes, saying she is more to his taste"-- Komsomol Pravda, 03.03.15 .
Bereza is said to repost an article linking him with Anna Duritskaya on his social network page, and received many cheers including from some notorious people.

Opposition

  • Andrei Piontkovsky in his Echo of Moscow blog writes an emotional/confused piece where he may be (or appears to be) lending some support to a theory that Russian security services had to do with the murder in order to frame Kadyrov (and presumably regain direct control of Chechnya or start a third Chechnya campaign, or whatever goes in that theory). Also the article offers a critical view on wisdom of keeping Chechnya in, calls to reconsider 'imperial attitudes', but not actually proposing any solution or action, apart from criticizing the course of historic events. Anyway, the 'trolls' jumped on the latter immediately, accused him on conspiring to change constitutional order in Russia / interfering with Chechnya affairs / being the 'fifth column' in a strict/legal sense, etc (see ruposters and Fort Russ and comments for details).
  • Ruposter article claims that an earlier unedited version of Echo Moskvy called for secession of Chechnya from Russia and Russia from Chechnya. However this is not present in the currently available version of the article. No idea whether the call was actually made. Even if as presented, it's calling for legal legislative amendments, which should be possible, and is not a public call to perform actions undermining territorial integrity-the latter not allowed in the latest edition of the law (article 280.1).
  • For reference: in 2003, a referendum was held in Chechnya, on the republic draft Constitution. Chechnya was declared part of Russia (articles 1,2), and essentially followed Russian law. Referendum was considered controversial and criticized in the West and by opposition in Russia. The outcome was that Constitution was approved.
  • Recently, Chechnen politicians organised a rally in Groznyi, sharply criticized Russian opposition, including opposition media outlets Echo Moskvy and Dozhd (tv rain), as being the 5th column, etc.; those opinions were published by Echo Moskvy.
  • Chechen parliament as well as Russian opposition and human rights activists all asked authorities to investigate the other side claims.

Planned in 2012?

As of 2017, it appears that those who performed the killing are under arrest and are tried by a military court in Moscow, however investigation into who ordered and organised the murder appears to be frozen (chief detective replaced soon after first arrests; higher up commanders not interrogated or 'do not remember', with no apparent urgency in finishing that part of the investigation). Interpretation coming from Russian liberal media sources is along the lines that it was realized that some powerful clans are about to clash and it is getting to dangerous, so investigation was scaled back.

The plot actually gets thicker. Akhmet Zakaev claimed (video) that in 2012 he received information on plans to use Chechens to murder Nemtsov and Kasparov, and that he warned them about this back in 2012.

That was confirmed by Andrey Piotnkovskii, who said that in February 2012 he and Nemtsov were invited by the Norway Parliament, to give a speech and to have meetings with activists; that was organised by human rights activist Ivar Amundsen. Amudsen told them that Zakaev very much wants to meet them. Zakaev told them that Chechen fighters are staying in one of Moscow hotels (that was well known), and that moreover one of their tasks will be physical elimination of Nemtsov and Kasparov. Piotnkovskii continues, that had quite strong impression on us, but still we were a bit skeptical. Then a mysterious event took place: when they returned to the hotel and were discussing this information,we turned on TV, and watched on it live broadcast of Putin telling about Western provocation plans to have a 'sacrificial lamb' among the ranks of the opposition, and blame the Russian government for the death (in the works for over 10 years, according to Putin). On 29 February 2012, Piontkovskii published an article telling some sacrificial lamb story, but not the fact of meeting with Zakaev; and on 1 March, Nemtsov had a press conference, saying that he takes all that very seriously, and if Putin talks about such plans, it means that he has such information, and if it is not prevented, then basically he is to blame. That was 2012, and nothing happened in 2012; but somebody set up his murder in 2015.

So now basically Western-based opposition/globalists/whoever are making some noises intended to reinstate that blame. It is unclear whether those noises are justified, and reasons to be skeptical. That would be of no benefit to Putin to eliminate Nemtsov; he knew him for a long time, Nemtsov was not popular or dangerous at the moment, --no reason to create a hero from him at all. Moreover Putin had overall positive and collegial view of him despite some rivalry; and appeared shocked by events (such overall version is confirmed for example by Venedictov, chief editor of Echo of Moscow, often having meetings with Putin and pursuing questions on Nemtsov on a regular basis).

However, there are powerful clans competing for influence; one such clans could spread rumors in 2012 to scare off Nemtsov and Kasparov to refrain from politics (Kasparov actually emigrated, Nemtsov stayed); or even plan something as alleged; but scaring off seems more likely.

And then years later, something happened and Nemtsov was arranged to be killed, with Chechens involved/accused again in the plot. With broader investigation frozen, the truth of what really happened may be not discovered in the foreseeable future. --Resup (talk) 22:10, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

Suspects

Chechens

Adam Osmayev was arrested in Odessa 3 years ago for the plot to murder President Putin. Now he has been named a suspect in the murder of Boris Nemtsov.

Successfully avoiding camera, stolen plates on stolen car, converted air gun, 6 shots in 3 double-taps were used in Budanov murder by Chechen militants. Reminds a bit but may be no connection. In that case, 3 months between the murder and arrest (R.)

Zaur Dadaev, arrested and said to confess. Some details about him provided by Kadyrov  : in the past served in 46 special operations brigade of interior troops, MOI (Russia); was awarded medal for bravery; later resigned sighting personal reasons. Kadyrov asked his subordinated to look into real circumstances of resignation.

kommersant.ru, 30.3.15 a suspect said to emerge, provided a car and promised payment, somebody nicknamed 'Ruslik'.

Suspects charged

  • Investigative committee named Zaur Dadaev, Anzor and Shadid Gubashev, Temirlan Eskerhanov and Khamzat Bakhaev as murder suspects; investigation into their crime was closed.
  • A separate investigation was opened against those who ordered and organized the murder; Ruslan Muhudinov and 'unknown persons'. Ruslan Muhudinov was the driver and relative of the former assistant commander of internal troops battalion "North" Ruslan Geremeev (who has influential relatives in Chechnya and Moscow). Geremeev was not named in the investigative committee report, and apparently is not under an international warrant.
  • Another suspect, Beslan Shavanov killed himself, exploding a grenade during his arrest.

Dadaev attorney Shamsudin Tsakaev stated in an interview to RBK:

We have a witness who can confirm that shortly before Nemtsov murder, the person who according to Gubashev shot him, --Beslan Shavaev--returned from Ukraine, where he was arrested by SBU. We are looking into this version, and we are ready to make the witness available for interrogation

SBU denied that Beslan Shavanov was arrested.

Arrests

Two suspects arrested-CNN: Federal Security Service director Alexander Bortnikov said those detained are from the southern region of the North Caucasus, which for years has been a hotbed of unrest and rebellion against Moscow.

Анзор Губашев (Anzor Gubashev) Заур Дадаев (Zaur Dadaev) are suspected in organizing and executing the murder TASS, 3.7.15 . Arrest was made in Ingushetia. They are also said to have some property in Grozny. Their families' members are hailing from Chechnya, moved to Ingushetia in the 60's. It is said that Dadaev served in the MoI of Chechnya battalion "North," about 10 years ago. A day later, three more suspects were arrested and held without bail till April 28.
Judge is quoted saying that "The guilt of Dadaev is confirmed by his statements confessing to the crime." (Confession was considered 'king of proofs' in Soviet days and is said to remain such to this day, according to a recent interview by Moscow lawyer advocacy group representative, broadcast on tvrain.ru. But there is said to be video footage from traffic cameras as well, linking suspects to the crime )
According to media reports. Dadaev withdrew his confession. Said that he gave it trying to have a friend released/personal safety concerns TASS quoting other media

PACE investigation

PACE Collects Signatures to Initiate Investigation into Nemtsov's Murder, Jan. 26, 2016. Initiated by Janna Nemtsova; supported by Mikhail Kasyanov and Vladimir Kara-Murza.

Analysis

Commemorations

  • Memorial march is planned in Moscow, 27 Feb 2016- PARNAS filed a petition notifying Moscow authorities
Additional security measures planned for the march on 27 February, but it is said that the bridge will remain open- TASS

2017

  • 26 Feb. 2017. March in memory of Nemtsov in Moscow (also in other cities) Video 1, video 2. Number of participants in Moscow, 5 thousands according to TASS, 5 to 15 thousandsaccording to echo.msk. Around 2 thousands in St. Petersburg.
    • St. Petersburg. One participant with a poster was arrested after long discussion with police colonel; that man believed that he has a right to stand or move with a poster as he was on Mars Field; apparently it cannot be done outside of designated for protest or march area. They both make references to the law number 54.
    • pro-Kremlin media, including the website of the sensationalist TV channel Ren-TV, incorrectly reported Sunday that U.S. Ambassador John Tefft had attended an opposition rally in a Moscow suburb that day and used a photoshopped image of him to illustrate the claim -Moscow Times (here, also on Cassad; poster says 'he was fighting for our (OUR!) future).

Documentaries

ARTE-Dokumentation: Boris Nemzow - Tod an der Kremlmauer, Evgenii Gindilis producer, February 2016

About the film-google translated