Russian reactionary killed in Moscow

by our European Affairs correspondent

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has vowed to personally oversee the investigation into the assassination of a prominent member of the right-wing opposition gunned down in Moscow on the eve of a mass rally against the government.

Boris Nemtsov was shot dead last Friday night while walking across a bridge in central Moscow with his girlfriend, a 23-year-old Ukrainian model.

Nemtsov was a major player in the Yeltsin regime but his pro-American stance soon put him at loggerheads with the Putin leadership. In recent years he had tried, with little success, to build a number of reactionary fronts to challenge Putin. He was a frequent visitor to the United States, where he would often meet with Senator John McCain, a leading member of the American war-lobby. In recent months he had taken the lead in opposing Crimea’s return to the Russian Federation and Russia’s support for the anti-fascist struggle in Ukraine.

Though the imperialist media have been quick to blame Putin for the death of one of their stooges it’s highly unlikely that the intelligence services would carry out a demonstrative murder right in front of the Kremlin when so many other low-profile options, like fatal “accidents”, are available to them.

There have been all sorts of speculations in the Russian media. Some pundits think the assassination was a CIA job aimed at discrediting the Putin government. Others speculate that it was paid for by the Kiev regime or Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an exiled former oligarch.

The police are also looking into four other possible motives. It could have been linked to Islamist threats Nemtsov received over his support for Charlie Hebdo after the shootings in Paris, or the civil war in eastern Ukraine. The politician’s business activities or even a possible personal grudge related to his colourful personal life are also being investigated.

But while it was a cold-blooded hit Russian detectives think that the gunmen were not professionals because the casings from bullets found at the crime scene had been made at different arms factories.

“No matter what versions of this murder one may discuss, it must be borne in mind that enemies of our country, all sorts of scoundrels, will use it to destabilise the situation in Russia,” Communist Party of the Russian Federation leader Gennady Zyuganov said. A point taken up by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachov, who said: “The assassination of Boris Nemtsov is an attempt to complicate the situation in the country, even to destabilise it by ratcheting up tensions between the government and the opposition.”

While almost all Russian politicians and parties have, in one way or another, expressed condolences to the relatives of the deceased and outrage over the murder, some of them will not miss Nemtsov.

Viktor Tyulkin, the leader of the Russian Communist Workers Party said: “We do not know how to lie, and we will not. For us, Nemtsov is a class enemy, who in 1993 hysterically asked Chernomyrdin to ‘crush them, crush, Viktor Stepanovich!’

“This, according to the memoirs of Ilyumzhinov, the former president of Kalmykia, is how the young Nizhny Novgorod Governor Boris Nemtsov demanded the execution and ruthless suppression of the defenders of the Russian Supreme Soviet. Even though it was known that there were mostly unarmed people, including women and even children, in the area and rooms of the White House.

“Later, as for his anti- popular actions alongside Yeltsin, Nemtsov was among the young reformers who led the country to the crisis of 1998 and, accordingly, to great disasters for hundreds of thousands of Russian families. In particular, poverty and disease, premature death, and loss of prospects for the future.

“Recently Nemtsov was on the side of Kiev junta, including supporting their punitive operations in the Donbas.

“So, like it or not, there is a lot of blood on his hands, of inhabitants of Russia and the Donbas, mostly civilians — children, women and the elderly. Therefore while we do not approve of political assassinations, we are also not going to shed tears for this wretch. Nemtsov was our class enemy, and remains so after his death.”