The murder of Boris Nemtsov, described as an advocate for Russia and its people by the Wall Street Journal, just days before the large opposition rally planned on Sunday March 1st, has managed to convert what was being referred to as “paranoia” to a far more open disdain of the Putin government and the Putin supporters. The murder took place on Friday before midnight as he was walking across a bridge steps away from the Kremlin, with a female friend. The assailant jumped out of a car and aimed directly at Nemstov, who was shot in the back.
Boris Nemtsov –now dead at the age of 55 was the former deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltzin and has been a vocal Russian liberal political activist for over 20 years. At the age of 25 Boris was considered a leading Russian physicist; he also served as govenor Nizhny Novgorod; and later deputy prime minister in charge of Russia’s transition from a soviet to a market economy. In his work he was able to design many innovative economic reforms.
Over the years Boris Nemtsov had often expressed concern for his life, being an outspoken critic of Putin and the Russian government. Understandably members of the opposition are now additionally concerned for their lives. Many Russian citizens accuse Putin at the very least of creating an atmosphere of hatred in the country. Looking over the past decade there would be several incredibly lethal events which have led to this particular juncture, one of which involved
Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky.
Khodorkovsky made his fortune in the Siberian oil fields with the company Yukos, one of the first major post-privatization companies. He was also one of the richest men in Russia and the world having amassed a 15 billion fortune. Khordorkovsky had been funding opposition groups, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and labor camps for tax evasion and theft. His case was brought to the attention of the international community for human rights violation and his trial was widely criticized for its lack of due process. As a result there was a great deal of international criticism for the possible political motivation.
Alexander Litvineko, author of Blowing Up Russia: Terror From Within and Lubyanka Criminal Group, had accused the Russian Secret Service of staging Russian apartment bombings and acts of terrorism in order to bring Vladamir Putin to political power. Litvineko was poisoned by a lethal dose of radioactive polonium 210. In addition, Litvineko had claimed along with many other FSB officers that his superiors had ordered the assassination of the Russian tycoon Boris Berevzovsky as well as the murder of Anna Politkovskava the Russian journalist in 2006.
He became very ill in 2006 discovering that he had been poisoned and died days later. UK authorities investigated the murder, where Litvineko had been a resident. They were able to identify suspect Andrey Lugovoy, a member of Russia's Federal Protective Service, but Russia refused to extradite.
Former president of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko survived an assassination attempt on his life during his election campaign in 2004, in which he was exposed to dioxin TCDD, a very hazardous component of Agent Orange, amidst accusations of voter fraud. He was disfigured and nearly killed by this substance.
Putin has condemned the murder and has launched an investigation. He also expressed sympathy for the Nemtsovs family and loved ones. - Putin stated that it seems to be a contract killing designed to create unrest in the country.