Boris Nemtsov is merely the latest (and biggest) name on a growing list. He was a leading pro-democracy Russian politician for two decades; an outspoken critic of Putin and of Putin’s lying Ukraine aggression. Nemtsov was gunned down in public, in Moscow, near the Kremlin.
Putin piously condemned the crime, and regime hacks predictably are out denying guilt. Russian media darkly hints, as usual, that the West is somehow responsible (part of the campaign to whip up a nationalist hysteria of grievance and hatred, tarring as traitorous anyone not going along). Another theory is that Nemtsov was a “sacrificial victim” by opponents of the regime, to destabilize it. Really.
If so, you’d think their police state could actually find the culprits. Wanna bet this murder will never be solved?
They always promise vigorous investigation. With straight faces. Just like for all these other unpunished murders of pesky politicians, journalists, and critics, in Putinist Russia:
- Galina Starovoitsova
- Igor Domnikov
- Sergey Novikov
- Iskander Khatloni
- Sergey Ivanov
- Adam Tepsurgayev
- Yuri Shchekochikhin
- Sergey Yushenkov
- Nikolai Girenko
- Paul Klebnikov
- Andrei Kozlov
- Anna Politkovskaya
- Alexander Litvinenko
- Stanislav Markelov
- Anastasia Baburova
- Natalia Estemirova
- Sergei Magnitsky
Those are just ones I could find in a very quick web search. But one might also add the 651 victims of the 1999 Russian apartment bombings, blamed on Chechen terrorists as a pretext for launching a war of atrocities in Chechnya to inflate Putin’s popularity for an upcoming presidential election. At the time, the “Chechen terrorist” story stank fishily. A public Russian investigative commission had its leading members arrested or murdered (two are on the list above). There is in fact much evidence pointing to Putin’s own security service thugs as the true culprits behind the bombings.
In the bad old Soviet days, regime critics were persecuted, jailed, confined in mental hospitals . . . but never out-and-out murdered. Those Communists actually had some scruples; a belief system they managed to convince themselves they actually believed in.
Not so with Putin’s regime, believing in nothing but its naked self-interest. This is a regime by gangsters, running (and looting) Russia precisely as Al Capone did in Chicago. Inconvenient people are simply gunned down. According to a recent PBS documentary, Putin personally has amassed a fortune of tens of billions.
In Ukraine, the Maidan protest movement got rid of a similar regime. That’s why Putin has responded so viciously. Scared lest Russians emulate it, Putin is doing all he can to mess up Ukraine. The regime even manufactured an “anti-Maidan” demonstration in Moscow, of people demanding, “No democratic revolution here!”
In the last presidential debates, Obama belittled Romney, making him seem foolish, for saying Putin’s Russia is America’s chief foreign adversary. Who looks foolish now?
But, paraphrasing a current catch-phrase, I too can say I hated Putin before it was cool.
POSTSCRIPT: Nemtsov was apparently working on a report documenting Putin’s lies about Ukraine. After his killing, police searched his apartment and took away his computers.