For now, several suspects from the Caucasus have been arrested. Let us note that all of the political murder victims of recent years—Markelov, Politkovskaya, and Nemtsov have been somehow or other tied to the Caucasus region. Remember, it was Nemtsov who lobbied Denmark not to extradite the Chechen criminal Ahmed Zakayev. Later he cowardly denied his lobbying, but could not convince anyone.

Political cowardice was Boris Nemtsov’s style for a long time. After being named by the Nord-Ost (2002) terrorists as one of the people who they were willing to negotiate with about the release of the hostages, he at first agreed to participate and then disappeared until the theater hall was stormed. Afterward, he blamed his disappearance on Putin. The murdered Nemtsov’s ties to the Caucasus need to definitely be investigated. But the names of the suspects, by themselves, mean nothing. Like usually happens in such murders, the executors may not even know the identity of the one who ordered the hit.

The most promising leads point to the Ukraine and the liberal Moscow opposition itself. Speaking of the latter, it’s old news that politics often goes hand in hand with criminal activity. The Ukraine has its own intelligence service, admittedly shabby, but still able to perform an operation such as this. A murdered Nemtsov provides enormous political dividends to both Kiev and the Moscow liberals. Nemtsov in the role of a martyr for the Ukraine attracts positive, emotional attention to the Poroshenko regime. And Nemtsov as a martyred fighter against evil Putin sends the stocks of the liberal opposition soaring.

In one of his last interviews, Nemtsov expressed worries that Putin is planning his murder. Maybe, he tried to raise his popularity in a coy way, but by uttering those words, Nemtsov signed his own death sentence. If I was the Ukrainian intelligence, I would not let such a chance go by.

On the days of the demonstrations after Nemtsov’s murder, waiting for shots into the crowd that provoked the Kiev bloodshed. It has been established and proven that the opposition’s agents provocateurs, not the police, fired on the demonstrators in the Maidan. At one of the demonstrations in Moscow, Nemtsov was called a member of the “Heavenly Hundred”, a new one, in Moscow. Nemtsov’s murder could have very well served as an excuse for a Kiev-like putsch. We got lucky for now, but some other “day of rage” is sure to come.

I expect any kind of crime from Kiev. After all, the war and other crimes of the current regime are so terrible that Yanukovych and all his corruption is a Sunday school boy in comparison. Barack Obama called Nemtsov’s murder “brutal”. Every murder is a tragedy. But is a bullet so brutal in comparison to the hellish brew that Ukrainian women and girls poured in bottles on May 2 in Odessa. All of Russia saw those videos and all of Russia saw what was prepared. That fire could not be extinguished, it went inside the body. People in the Trade Unions House died in long, hellish agony. Did pro-Ukrainian politician Boris Nemtsov say even one word of sorrow about the brutally murdered people in Odessa? Was he outraged that nobody was brought to account for that atrocity?

Can I be sorry about yesterday’s Boris Nemtsov? Can I be sorry about the past Boris Nemtsov at the height of his political power?

The government in which he served took away a decade of life from my generation. I have not forgotten how meticulously we cut bread in my family, so the child could eat it at least three times a day. I have not forgotten the elderly who could only afford to buy potatoes and oatmeal in the grocery stores. I have not forgotten the destitute with intelligentsia faces.

When we talk about politics, it is very stupid to hold the maxim de mortuis aut bene aut nihil. The very deeds of a public, political figure presume their analysis, including an emotional one. But I am not a Moscow liberal, I do not point the finger of blame, and do not call anyone a “murderer” prematurely. 

Most importantly, I want the murder to be solved. Not solved how I want, but really solved. But at the same time, it will not change much. Nemtsov’s murder already played its evil role in the formation of a negative image of Russia abroad and deflecting the world’s attention from Ukrainian war crimes. And this will continue in the future. Boris Nemtsov again became a powerful figure on the chessboard of politics.


[Click here for the first part of Elena Chudinova’s article]