Boris Nemtsov was gunned down on the eve of a rally in opposition to the rule of Vladimir Putin on a bridge Vasilyevsky Spusk leading to Red Square within sight of the Kremlin walls. Four bullets in the back from a thug who emerged from a tunnel and fled in a white car ended the life of another opponent of Putin. Prior to Nemtsov’s assassination the victims were members of the media which quickly brought the others in the media under control. Nemtsov was a member of the government who thought he was immune from such terror. Now everyone in Russia knows that no one gets a pass.
The warning that Putin will brook no opposition was sent loud and clear to those who might disagree with him reminiscent of the days of Vladimir Lenin. Putin’s namesake asked” “How can you make a revolution without firing squads?” So Putin believes like the Bolsheviks of old you win through terror in the form of assassinations. Is it a coincidence that both men were named after the infamous Vlad the Impaler a member of the House of Dracula?
When the crime was publicly reported, like Casablanca’s Captain Louis Renault discovering gambling happening at Rick’s Café Américain, Vlad Putin was shocked. Also like Captain Renault after discovering the murder of Major Heinrich Strasser he ordered his security forces to round up the usual suspects. He added a Flemmi-like touch to this by sending a note to Boris’s 86-year-old mother expressing his dismay at the death. (Flemmi after murdering Debbie Davis went over her mother’s house and cried about her disappearance.)
The security forces have fanned out looking for the culprits. Some suggest rather than spending much time looking for them they might shotcut their endeavors by looking into the mirror when Putin is shaving. Anyone aware of Russian history knows whose hand is behind this; everyone knows that politics in Russia is a deadly game. What makes it especially so is the brazen way in which it is practiced. There were other ways to get rid of Nemtsov but doing it so blatantly sends a message to those who might think like him.
The Russian folk leading the investigation have put out several theories on who may have done it. The opposition party itself. Gorbachev suggested it was a scheme to provoke political trouble in Russia. That, of course, is nonsense. I know of no cases where an opposition party killed one of its leaders to discredit its opponents. It just isn’t done. But that won’t stop Russia from throwing the blame on the supporters of the victim.
Another theory is that because Nemtsov was a Jew and he supported Charlie Hebdo he was murdered by another usual suspect, radical Islamists. I read on the American mouthpiece of the Kremlin the RT news that the Moscow cops had found the car involved in the murder and it had a plate issued by a Muslim government, a silver-colored VAZ-21102 with North Ossetia number plates.
Nemtsov, 56, was with his girlfriend of four years, 23-year old Ukrainian woman who calls herself a model and actress but had no known acting jobs. The security service has suggested that perhaps she was forced to have an abortion by Nemtsov and was getting her revenge on him.
There’s always the Ukrainian connection. That would be that the Ukrainian government murdered Nemtsov who was criticizing Putin for using Russian troops in Ukraine to embarrass Putin (how can you embarrass him?). That would fit nicely into the present Russian demonizing of everything Ukrainian.
In Putin’s favor he really had nothing to fear from Nemtsov. Taking him off the scene is of little moment. Most Russians paid little attention to him. The relatively meager turnout Sunday to protest his murder by some people afraid to give their names shows the whole event will be forgotten by most in a fortnight except those who might entertain wrongful thoughts about Putin.
Anyone familiar with Russian history will know that its leadership always likes to fire a shot across the bow of the opposition. I’d suggest that is what was done. The voices of the opposition will be lowered to a whisper. It is that the murder was so unnecessary that gives it its greatest impact. Russians will think if Nemtsov can be so easily eliminated what’s to prevent my elimination.
My guess is that they will find some Moslems. They will be murdered in a gun battle. Case closed.
Or, better yet, it will remain open and unsolved. They just haven’t decided what is the most chilling outcome.