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Boris Nemtsov was assassinated within sight of the Kremlin…

… and twenty years ago today, TV journalist Vlad Listyev was also murdered in Moscow. No one was ever convicted. And there was investigative reporter Paul Klebnikov in 2004, no convictions. Anna Politkovskaya in 2006, with the alleged murderers convicted but not whoever ordered the hit.

No doubt opposition leader Boris Nemtsov‘s assassination will be put to good use though. Perhaps some expendable dupes can be found and somehow linked to the Ukraine because, well just because. I expect we will soon see arguments appearing like “Putin is so smart he would not have a political enemy killed in a well policed area near the Kremlin, so therefore it must be the CIA/International Zionist Conspiracy/Ukrainians”.

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59 comments to Boris Nemtsov was assassinated within sight of the Kremlin…

  • Mr Ecks

    Putin is beyond doubt an evil man who will order murders to maintain/increase his hold on power. That does not prove that he is intent on some kind of fool’s quest to reclaim the soviet empire in Eastern Europe. Also having to resort to the murder of journalists and political opponents suggests he isn’t that secure anyway.

  • Simon Just

    Putin is beyond doubt an evil man who will order murders to maintain/increase his hold on power. That does not prove that he is intent on some kind of fool’s quest to reclaim the soviet empire in Eastern Europe

    I imagine post Anschluss in 1938 you would have written: Herr Hitler is beyond a doubt an evil man who will order murders to maintain/increase his hold on power. That does not prove that he is intent on some kind of fool’s quest to reclaim the Kaiser’s empire in Europe.

    The wilful blindness one sees about Putin is astonishing.

  • Also having to resort to the murder of journalists and political opponents suggests he isn’t that secure anyway.

    Insecurity makes him more likely to launch foreign adventures, not less.

  • mike

    “National investigators who answer to Putin say they are pursuing several lines of inquiry…”

    Well obviously he is above the law. If Putin came out and just admitted that he ordered Nemtsov’s murder would anything in Russian politics actually change?

  • bob sykes

    Nemtsov was part of Yeltsin’s government that looted Russia, and he does have criminal ties dating from that era, so there are many suspects.

  • I expect we will soon see arguments appearing like “Putin is so smart he would not have a political enemy killed in a well policed area near the Kremlin, so therefore it must be the CIA/International Zionist Conspiracy/Ukrainians”.

    They appeared even while he was still bleeding.

  • Insecurity makes him more likely to launch foreign adventures, not less.

    This murder has nothing to do with foreign adventures (not that Putin is not clearly intent on those), and it certainly proves anything but insecurity. The man is drunk on power and feels that he can do whatever he likes, as long as a large-enough part of the Russian public supports him (which is in fact the case, unfortunately). He does what he does for the same reason dogs lick their testicles: because he can.

  • Rational Plan

    @Alisa, indeed the Putinbots on Comment is free were spinning that it must be opposition who staged the assassination as they have most to benefit, not Putin etc. I notice that it’s mentioned that he was walking with a Ukranian model 30 years his junior at the time of his death. She should leave Russia as quickly as possible as it must an irresistible temptation to put her at the centre of a honey trap plot involving those dastardly Ukranians.

  • Nemtsov was part of Yeltsin’s government that looted Russia, and he does have criminal ties dating from that era

    Even if any of that has been proven to be true (which it has not, as far as I’m aware), there still would not have been that many suspects.

  • She should leave Russia as quickly as possible

    Anyone with a modicum of self-preservation instinct should do that, if they can.

  • Ah bob, you are nothing if not consistent in your support and apologetics for Putin. I hope you realise you can actually get paid for this, with quite pleasant offices here. You have experience posting to social media (they like 1-3 years of that apparently) and a good command of English, so I think you are good to go! Consider sending your CV to ‘Internet Research’ in St. Petersburg, assuming they do not already have one on file that is 😉

  • “Drunk on power” is about right, but I’m also worried that he’s drunk on steroids. One has only too look at those shirtless pics Putin keeps posing for to wonder what exactly is he taking.

    ‘roid rage is a recognized problem in sports and stories about politicians being influenced by the drugs they take are all too common.

    Given the choice, I’d rather have politicians like Berlusconi and Clinton under the influence of viagra than some of the alternatives.

    TWNEW (This Will Not End Well)

  • Mr Ed

    Nemtsov was part of Yeltsin’s government that looted Russia, and he does have criminal ties dating from that era, so there are many suspects.

    who waited for 15 years after Yeltsin left office to strike, and chose to strike in the least obvious way at the heart of Russia at the most inconvenient moment when he had called a rally, hoping to make it look like Mr Putin was behind it. It might be a ‘turbulent priest‘ issue, it might not. It certainly looks like one.

    There will be no ‘Je suis Boris‘ (remember that?), but not because there is, I was told, no present tense of the verb ‘to be’ in Russian.

  • Doing it right next to the Kremlin is exactly like doing it in London with Polonium – it just makes sure there is no reasonable doubt who was responsible.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    It is blowback for eeeeevil neocon foreign policy. Or something.

  • Mr Ed

    The approach of all current European governments from areas that were never wholly in the Soviet Sphere to both Mr Putin and ISIS is rather reminiscent of Rimmer in ‘the meeting’ in Red Dwarf (a British sic-fi comedy) when a chameleonic alien life form invades the Ship and attacks them, first stealing their emotions (pride, anger, fear and guilt respectively) and they have a meeting to discuss what to do about this mortal threat. Rimmer is the ‘facilitator’ with the beard and glasses….

  • JohnW

    I do not know who is worse – Putin or his apologists.

    Russian exiles have always told such bitter stories, see for example, the BBC documentary Rich, Russian and Living in London especially 29.00 ‘…so many of us have died…’ and 31.23 and 48.23 “There’s a lot of dark history in our blood…a lot of similar things now…I feel like my nation is damned by ourselves…honestly, I can’t go on right now, I just can’t talk at all… ”
    Wonderful, lovely, decent people…unlike the Lord Haw-Haw’s we hear from in the West.
    Max Keiser must feel jealous not to be Putin’s only bitch.

  • John Galt III

    We can only hope and pray that Herr Reichsfuhrer Obama irritates Putin as much as Nemtsov.

  • Mr Ecks

    Simon Just: “I imagine post Anschluss in 1938 you would have written: Herr Hitler is beyond a doubt an evil man who will order murders to maintain/increase his hold on power. That does not prove that he is intent on some kind of fool’s quest to reclaim the Kaiser’s empire in Europe.

    The wilful blindness one sees about Putin is astonishing.”

    The amount of wilful fantasy being peddled about Putin is even more astonishing.

    And no, I wouldn’t have written what you did as the Kaiser didn’t have a German empire in Europe. And Adolf didn’t pay the slightest attention to the Kaiser’s African possessions lost in WW1. The level of historical analysis you display does not seem to equip you for prophecy of any sort.

    As for Putin’s “roid rage”–that would seem to be a condition affecting
    most of the commentators on this topic. It seems everybody on here wants a bloody civil war, condemns thinking about the problem, calls anyone not hot for conflict a “putinbot” or and employee of the FSB.

    What are we going to get by pushing this?. The sanctions aren’t going to do the job. Putin cant back down and survive, as said above he has the support of most Russians (however dumb that is)and the more blowhard bullshit we sling the less he can back off and save face–ie in his case survive. I have no regard for the twat whatsoever but I really don’t think that we need a 1914 scenario on top of all the other shit that is going on in the world. The UK was only bankrupt at the end of WW1–we are already bankrupt at the start of this mess however it develops (well the govt is ) and the US as well. Something is going to bring our economies down sooner or later and doing it ourselves with a war seems like a really stupid idea.

  • Johnnydub

    Mr Ecks,

    I agree 100%. All this bullshit about Putin wanting to recreate the USSR is just that – BS. When the EU approached Ukraine with a trade deal, Russia didn’t object. It was only when the Association Agreement introduced military “support” that it all kicked off.

    Does the West think it can fix its broken financial system by confiscating/capturing Russia’s resources? As Mr Ecks says the West is pushing for a war and I can’t for the life of me see what the benefit is to me or my family or my community or my country…

  • Paul Marks

    Good post Perry.

    Our “libertarian” brothers and sisters who cooperate with Mr Putin’s propaganda machine disgust me.

    But then the Rothbardians have, sad to say, cooperated with a lot worse than Mr Putin over the years.

  • Mr Ed

    Does the West think it can fix its broken financial system by confiscating/capturing Russia’s resources?

    As wild and impermissible an extrapolation as you will ever see. There is no military threat to Russia, except in the mind of a fool.

    The West has neither troops nor proxies in the Ukraine, the West has not shot down any airliners, the West has done little but mutter.

  • It seems everybody on here wants a bloody civil war, condemns thinking about the problem, calls anyone not hot for conflict a “putinbot” or and employee of the FSB.

    Huh? What civil war and what conflict? I know I don’t want any. All I want is for the apologists of Putin and his murders to be shown as just that: apologists for a murderous KGB thug.

  • Johnnydub

    As I saw in a pithy tweet earlier, anyone demanding “justice” for Boris Nemtsov, might ask the same for David Kelly…

  • Mr Ed

    As I saw in a pithy tweet earlier, anyone demanding “justice” for Boris Nemtsov, might ask the same for David Kelly

    Indeed, but Dr Kelly was not shot 4 times in Whitehall. I note that Johnnydub makes no demand for justice in either case, but appears eager to seek to divert when difficult points arise.

  • Johnnydub

    No I make the point that if we believe the general flow of this thread, that political murder is bad, then we are standing in a glass house.

    As for the 4 shots – they thought it better to try and hide what they did…

  • c777

    The West’s choice.
    Go to war with Russia over Ukraine.
    Or STFU……
    It is as simple as that.
    The biggest danger that the West faces in relation to Russia is the people who live within the West who still think the brand of big state socialism that was exercised in the former Soviet Union then rejected actually works……

  • Does the West think it can fix its broken financial system by confiscating/capturing Russia’s resources?

    You what? Care to explain this truly weird remark?

  • NickM

    Simples. Reduce our demand for Russian stuff until they are eating each other. Then wait for them to storm the Kremlin and sit back and watch the mob hang draw and quarter the botoxed fucker.

  • JohnW

    If any foreign private company wanted to confiscate/capture my “nation’s”??? “natural resources” I would welcome them with open arms!!

  • Go to war with Russia over Ukraine.
    Or STFU……

    No no and a thousand times no. That oh so profoundly incorrect. There are a great many ways to fuck over Russian ambitions well short of nuclear NATO going to war with nuclear Russia.

    For a start, whilst at the moment people are underestimating the Russian threat, it is an equally egregious error to over-estimate them, as I have pointed out before.

    Russia is not going to end up with troops stationed in the Fulda Gap if we are not careful, so it really is important to keep some sense of proportion and not overreact. However…

    …that does not mean Russia should not be confronted. Yes it should. And if they enter NATO territory, yes we really do need to seriously no kidding no shit go to war with them. But Russia (whose economy is about the size of Italy) is only going to do something crazy like that if we sit on our hands and do nothing other than look incredibly unbelievably weak.

    There is a HUGE range of viable options available between “going to war with Russia over the Ukraine” and “doing nothing other that use some mildly disapproving language”.

    For a start, it is a myth that the Ukrainians need “western weapons” to defend themselves against Russia. No they do not. They are an exporter of fairly modern weapons actually. They are moderately well equipped and if they need anything, it is a proper staff college and lessons on how to manage modern military logistics (i.e. they need something much along the lines of Croatia in the period before Operation Storm in 1995).

    They also need encouragement to implement more radical and deep lustration. They do not need a NATO armoured corps outside Odessa. The many and creative ways Russia can be fucked over, this side of actually going to war with them directly, are limited only by imagination. Russia wants to fight a nominal proxy war? Well fine, give them one. No need to put American warheads on Russian foreheads as the Ukrainians are quite willing to do that if they can just get their shit together a la Croatia circa 1995. To fuck up Russia all we have to do is help the Ukraine do precisely that.

  • Reduce our demand for Russian stuff until they are eating each other.

    Yeah and face it, the only stuff worth a damn they really export is energy. And this is a sign of the times.

  • Nicholas (Natural Genius) Gray

    Boy, you’ll all have egg on your faces when the official report comes out, and proves that Nemtsov was trying to kill Putin by firing at him, but the fierce winds blew the bullets back. Why else would Nemtsov be so near the Kremlin?
    It all makes perfect seance.
    Simples, really.

  • NickM

    A “Staff Collage” ad “Deep Lustration”. I could do with a bit of those!

  • Chip

    In a rational world Europe would clear the way for fracking, thus boosting their economies and smiting Putin at the same time.

    But unfortunately at odds with the never ending socialist project, currently painted green.

  • Bogdan from Aussie

    Let’s also bear it ETERNALLY in our minds that Putin has incomparably bigger crime on his account: On the 6-th of April there shall be a sixth anniversary of Putin sponsored assassination of the Entire Polish political and military leadership, together with the Polish President Lech Kaczynski at Smolensk in Russia.
    As the determination of the Polish conservatives in unveiling all the circumstances of this mass murder prevails, more and more facts are emerging pointing directly at Kremlin as a main culprit.
    No surprise here; Putin would never waste such an opportunity of getting rid of the most charismatic Eastern European leader and his main obstacle for Putin’s plans to reoccupy lost territories.
    If a conservative US President emerges in 2016, the American Polish community will, for sure, press him or her to open an official international investigation into this biggest political crime of millennium.
    As barbaric as it is, the murder of Nemtsov is peanuts in comparison to the assassination of the Polish leadership.
    It is very important that the entire world learns the truth about Smolensk because that act more than any other illustrates that barbaric nature of Putin’s regime.

  • CaptDMO

    ““National investigators who answer to Putin say they are pursuing several lines of inquiry…”
    HEY! We have a Justice Department like that in the US too…!
    Fortunately, checks and balances provide for the Supreme Court, and the Legislature, to….
    Oh, wait…
    “The pen is mightier than the sword..”
    Sure after 20 years in the pen, a phone books worth of “other” beheaded penmen, and 2-3 million
    “innocent” passive bystanders later.
    But I’m SURE our “best and brightest” will fret for HOURS, making a HUGE dent, in seats of
    their office chairs.
    General George Patton (for ONE) had something to say about “martyrdom” (SEE:”innocent” passive bystanders, as well as “Stationary Fortress”). Of course he was disposed of when the professional pen wielders no longer felt they needed him to protect their desk chairs,
    oddly giving rebirth to one of the oldest bit of “penmanship” known to mankind.
    “Well, it’s complicated….”, but let’s not forget “Latest studies show…”

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Mark Almond in the Daily Telegraph today is claiming the hit was by nationalists who are actually trying to discredit Putin so that when he falls even more savagely mad people can take over. Well, it is arguably less crazy than the usual “it is all blowback for necons” stuff that is normally seen on this topic.

  • Isn’t Mark Almond an apologist for Lukashenko? (At least when he’s not working with Soft Cell?)

  • Johnnydub

    “Does the West think it can fix its broken financial system by confiscating/capturing Russia’s resources?

    You what? Care to explain this truly weird remark?”

    Here’s my reasoning:

    1) The West is broke, bust, skint, up the creek etc
    2) There is more oil, diamonds, uranium, etc in Siberia than there is any comparable part of the world.
    3) Russia doesn’t have the capital, know how, discipline, or simply people to exploit them. In fact it is in a massive demographic death spiral.
    4) So the West kicks the shit out of Russia on some trumped up war and the US annexes Siberia (before the Chinese do)
    5) Loads of new resources to exploit / good old war – the wheel keeps turning for a while longer

  • bloke in spain

    Something Tim Newman pointed out a while ago. Russia is, in a sense, a democracy. Putin’s becoming very bad for business. There’s a very scary & very capable electorate who won’t be taking too kindly to that. Wouldn’t fancy Putin’s chances, in the long run 😉


  • 1) The West is broke, bust, skint, up the creek etc
    2) There is more oil, diamonds, uranium, etc in Siberia than there is any comparable part of the world.
    3) Russia doesn’t have the capital, know how, discipline, or simply people to exploit them. In fact it is in a massive demographic death spiral.
    4) So the West kicks the shit out of Russia on some trumped up war and the US annexes Siberia (before the Chinese do)
    5) Loads of new resources to exploit / good old war – the wheel keeps turning for a while longer

    The leap between 3 and 4 crosses the yawning chasm between sensible observation and batshit insanity.

  • Mr Ed

    So the West kicks the shit out of Russia on some trumped up war and the US annexes Siberia (before the Chinese do)

    Can’t say I’ve noticed this happening any time. I have heard lots about Russians in the Ukraine killing people though.

    My tip mate: if you think like that, don’t ever let yourself get into litigation as you would be torn to shreds as a witness even if you didn’t realise it was going on, just settle early.

  • JohnK

    Wouldn’t fancy Putin’s chances, in the long run 😉

    I agree. The only way he’s leaving the Kremlin is in a box. There is no way he can ever give up power. If he’s lucky he’ll go out like Stalin, but one has to hope it comes quicker than that. Of course, what follows may not be any better.

  • Johnnydub

    Ok, so if I’m nutso explain why the west is railroading Russia towards war. I’ll agree – take that out and it’s bollocks.

    But the west is pushing for war – so what’s the payoff?

  • Perry

    Your reference to Croatia in 1995 is quite accurate as far as it goes, but what really made the difference was that the US advisers pushed the Croats to set up an NCO Academy. Once they had a decent sized cadre of NCOs the Croats were in a position to kick ass.

    I still think that the Ukrainians need a supply of modern anti tank weapons. other than that they should be able to make everything else they need.

    Unless Putin escalates to using his air force directly.

  • Putin’s blood will run down the streets of Mockva and wash away all sins. How else can his story possibly end?

    Putin worshipers will never be able to undo the lobotomy they willingly undertook. A lifetime of cognitive dissonance awaits them.

  • Taylor, I think the weakness the Ukrainians have is not so much at the NCO level but rather at the General Staff/Operational level. By many accounts the quality of staff work is appalling and the state of logistics were described to me by someone who experienced them first hand as ‘unpredictable’, not so much from a lack of supply as ‘distribution issues’. It seems they have serious organisational problems at the top.

  • But the west is pushing for war

    Huh?

  • Ok, so if I’m nutso explain why the west is railroading Russia towards war.

    They’re not.

  • Mr Ed

    If he’s lucky he’ll go out like Stalin,

    I have read that Stalin was ‘helped on his way’ by Malenkov, who was fearful of another round of purges and so felt that he had nothing to lose by not killing Stalin, as Machiavelli is paraphrased “Don’t make your enemies afraid NOT to kill you“, and after Beria and some others were shot at fairly short notice, the Soviets more or less stopped bumping off the highest rivals, Khrushchev retired, his next 3 successors died in the job (whilst appearing to be in office for months afterwards) and it was only Gorbachev of the remaining Soviets who left office tumultuously along with the USSR, and Yeltsin had a long drink in the last chance saloon with Mr Putin being his ultimate legacy.

    So with Mr Putin, if he gets to the point where his underlings are afraid not to finish him off, what would happen then? There is no history of ‘Bonapartism’ (as the Soviets called it) in the Russian/Soviet military, apart from a period when Zhukov nearly took power, but he went to Albania and was outmanoeuvred and came back to find that he had been retired.

  • I have to say, this is the most peculiar turnaround in British commentary towards Russia. 30-40 years ago, the leaders in the Kremlin could invade Afghanistan and the Left would fall over themselves to make excuses, normally along the lines that it is either not an invasion or if it was, they had no choice. Nowadays we’re hearing exactly the same bollocks but from the opposite end of the political spectrum. What is it about Russian military adventurism that causes people to go all soft-headed?

  • Perry

    I’m not surprised that the Ukrainians are have staff and logistics problems. The previous regime in Kiev was a disaster and did nothing to support their military. Nurturing competent military leadership is not easy.

    Sometimes I wonder if the “help” our beloved leader is giving them is anywhere near as effective as the help the Clinton administration gave Croatia in ’95.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Johnnydub
    March 2, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    4) So the West kicks the shit out of Russia on some trumped up war and the US annexes Siberia (before the Chinese do)

    The problem (which has proved intractible before) of kicking the shit out of Russia in Russia aside, China would move in before the US finished with Russia. It’s the thought of Chinese eyes on Siberia that will keep Putin from being too adventurous in the West, if anything will.

  • The problem (which has proved intractable before) of kicking the shit out of Russia in Russia…

    … circa 2015, is that Russia has nuclear weapons and would use them if it faced an existential military threat such as a full blown invasion on the scale being discussed. Neither the USA nor China will do that unless they want to see their populations halved. The entire scenario is preposterous. The USA poses zero threat to actual territorial Russia. China on the other hand does, but via a slow process of squatters in the east rather than military invasion.

  • Snag

    Now that Putin has taken personal charge of the Nemtsov inquiry, bookmakers have stopped taking bets on a ‘Natural Causes’ verdict.

  • You forgot to add “White Russians” or “Young Cadets” at the beginning of the list of usual suspects, for historical accuracy. Meet the new boss, same as the old…

  • JohnK

    Mr Ed:

    I am not sure if Malenkov had the stones to take out Stalin. From what I have read, he had a stroke, and his entourage was too scared to do anything about it. Shame.

    You are right that the Politburo acted quickly to kill Beria before he could take over. In those days, the Party kept control of the Cheka, but they saw their chance and seized power after the chaos of the Yeltsin era.

    If Beria had seized power, I think he would have been quite like Putin, inasmuch as he was notorious amongst the Politburo for his ignorance of Marxism-Leninism. That mattered to them, because they really believed in that shit. He didn’t, it was just about power for him. Strangely, he might have made a better leader of the USSR, because unencumbered by the ideological bullshit, he might have been more pragmatic in his dealings with the west. Anyway, he found out too late that he had a date with a firing squad, something I am sure Putin bears in mind at all times.

  • Rich Rostrom

    If Beria had seized power, I think he would have been quite like Putin…/blockquote>

    Putin, like Beria, is a chekist; but Beria came up through the Stalin era of continual mass murder. Maybe he would have stopped the slaughter, but he probably shared Stalin’s paranoid fear of possible rivals, so probably not.

    And Beria was known for having girls kidnapped for him to rape; Putin is not.

    This is of course praising with very faint damns.

    Though the original point is perhaps well taken; the secret police cannot afford to ignore reality as their masters do. When one becomes the boss, he may therefore be more sensible and less ideological.