This story is intriguing and some common sense must come into play as we dissect this development. After this introductory article by Zero Hedge, the next articles provide deeper analysis. The quote below, "New sanctions are almost certainly imminent, as is the escalation over Syria and the Ukraine conflict", may represent the most critical aspect of this development.
Prominent Politician And Putin Critic Shot To Death In Moscow; 'Shocked' John Kerry Urges Russia To Bring Justice
Just nine hours after tweeting "Putin annexed Crimea and is now handing over Siberia to the Chinese," and three ours after calling for a "Russian Spring" march, prominent Vladimir Putin critic and former deputy prime minister (in March 1997 Nemtsov was appointed First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, with special responsibility for reform of the energy sector), Boris Nemtsov, was killed in the center of Moscow.
Late on the Friday night in downtown Moscow on Vasilevsky Spusk was killed prominent politician Boris Nemtsov.According to preliminary data, the killer shot four times at the 55-year-old politician and fled the scene. The opposition leader died on the scene of the shooting.The death of the politician was confirmed by his colleague from the "Republican Party of Russia - People's Freedom Party" Ilya Yashin."Nemtsov was shot. He's dead - Yashin wrote on his page on "Facebook".Boris Nemtsov was one of the founders and leaders of the "Solidarity" party, co-chairman of a political party RPR-Parnassus, as well as a member of the Coordination Council of Russian opposition
The question now: who did it - a retaliation or a provocation, and if so - who is behind it and why? And of course - how will Putin respond?
One thing is certain: the full weight of the western media will fall like a ton of bricks on Putin and on what has already been described as Russia's descent "into darkness."
More sanctions are almost certainly imminent, as is the escalation over Syria and the Ukraine conflict.
Martyrdom on demand: if not of use alive, perhaps of use dead? US-backed opposition groups in Russia have so far failed utterly to produce results. Their transparent subservience to Washington coupled with their distasteful brand of politics has left a rather unpleasant taste in the mouth of most Russians. Each attempt to spread the “virus” of color revolution to Moscow, as US Senator John McCain called it, has failed – and each attempt has fallen progressively flatter.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has never been more popular. His ability to weather serial provocations aimed at Russia by NATO has made him a champion against the perceived growing injustice exacted against the developing world by an increasingly militaristic and exploitative West.
So when US-backed opposition groups in Russia decided to gather again this coming March 1, Sunday, many wondered just exactly what they expected to accomplish.
The opposition “hasn’t been this weak for many years,” Stefan Meister, an analyst at the German Council of Foreign Relations in Berlin, said by phone. “Even when we have a growing economic crisis in Russia, there’s still high support for Putin."
The prospect of triggering sustainable unrest aimed at the Kremlin was beyond impossible – that is – until the leader of the planned protest was shot dead, practically on the steps of the Kremlin itself in the heart of Moscow.
Boris Nemtsov, was reportedly shot four times in the back on Friday night in a drive-by shooting. His body laid conveniently for media photographers to capture the Kremlin looming in the background.
Nemtsov had led US-backed opposition protests for years. In 2012, he was caught literally walking into the US Embassy in Moscow to meet with then newly appointed US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul who had serve on the board of directors of Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
The provocative murder in the center of Moscow, in close proximity to the Kremlin itself, would lead the more gullible members of the general public to imagine President Putin himself leaning back in his office chair with a rifle sticking out the window of the Kremlin, and gunning down his rival – in true super villain form.
Already, before any investigation has been conducted, Western news sources are attempting to imply the Kremlin was behind his murder – hoping the general public believes Russia’s leadership would be careless and thoughtless enough to commit such a provocative act just two days ahead of protests.
It appears likely that rather than the Kremlin clumsily killing an opponent on their doorstep on the eve of a major protest, he was instead killed by either members of his own opposition movement, or by his US backers themselves. The combination of economic strain brought on by US sanctions, US-backed mobs planning to take to the streets, and now a martyr conventionality delivered just 2 days before the protest he was meant to lead was to take place, has the deck stacked with the most favorable cards to deliver the West the sort of sustainable chaos and unrest it has desired to create in Russia, and has admittedly created in neighboring Ukraine, according to America’s own former Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul.
Regarding Nemtsov’s murder, any good investigator would be tasked with the question, “to whose benefit?” Surely it would benefit the Kremlin to rid themselves of an opponents, but not in this manner. In fact, the only party that stood to benefit from his high-profile execution in the streets of Moscow were his own compatriots and his foreign backers who faced the prospect of yet another failed protest. Sympathy, they hope, will spur Russians who are on the fence politically to take to the streets, joining others who may have previously avoided protests because of Russia’s economic strength before US sanctions sank in.
The opposition, if they were not behind the murder of one of their own leaders, would not dare hold the protest this week – as it would be a shameless exploitation of this tragedy – and they would instead, for both security and respect, mourn the loss of Nemtsov thoughtfully. However, since they and their foreign backers were undoubtedly behind the murder, they will protest, shamelessly leveraging Nemtsov’s death to its fullest – using mourners to bolster their ranks.
“Everything will be done for the organizers and executors of this vile and cynical murder to receive the punishment they deserve," the statement on the Russian President’s official website said.
Boris Nemtsov, a veteran opposition figure in Russia, was gunned down in a drive-by attack in central Moscow overnight Friday.
The murder, which happened just away from the Kremlin, triggered worldwide condemnation and calls to bring the killers to justice.
Investigators are doing their best to solve the murder of the opposition politician, said Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigative Committee. Previously, he said that the investigators are looking into five possible motives behind Nemtsov’s assassination.
According to Markin, the politician’s murder could have been a provocation to destabilize the political situation in Russia. It could have also been linked to the threats Nemtsov received over his stance on Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris or the current war in Ukraine. The politician’s business activities and a possible assault related to his personal life are also being looked into.
The car, which was used in Nemtsov’s drive-by murder, has reportedly been found by the police, according to REN TV news channel.
The white Lada Priora, carrying license plates from the Republic of Ingushetia in Russia’s North Caucasus, was discovered parked not far from the crime scene.
Moscow city authorities meanwhile have given permission to Russian opposition leaders to hold a march to commemorate Nemtsov after they canceled a planned protest rally due to the murder. The Sunday rally will cross the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge where the politician was shot dead.
Nemtsov, 55, gained popularity as a governor to Nizhny Novgorod region, staying in the office from 1991 to 1997. He served as energy minister and deputy prime minister under former President Boris Yeltsin. After 1998 he participated in the creation of several liberal movements and parties, serving as a Member of Parliament. Since 2012, he had co-chaired the liberal party RPR-PARNAS (Republican Party of Russia – People's Freedom Party), being more involved in business than politics.