As soon as Nemtsov was reported dead I knew the news would take it up as a fresh charge against the Putin regime. People are right to be suspicious given the circumstances, the background and the record of assassination in Vladimir's motherland:
Imagine if armed thugs assassinated John Boehner, the Republican speaker of America’s House of representatives, in front of the White House. Though nowhere near as sympathetic a character as Nemtsov, few would have difficulty pointing their fingers at the White House. That Putin is responsible should thus not be subject to question. But, Russia being what it is, no one can be 100% sure. The authoritarian consensus is that strong.
It’s probably the most significant killing in the former USSR since Anna Politkovskaya was shot on Putin’s birthday almost a decade ago. Five men have since been convicted of Politkovskaya’s murder, but the questions around who ordered her death predictably remain. It is plausible Politkovskaya was murdered on orders from Ramzan Kadyrov, the thug who keeps Chechnya under Putin’s thumb, especially as three of the convicted are Chechen men. Whether or not Putin had any foreknowledge of the killing has yet to be confirmed or disconfirmed. Undoubtedly, it was convenient for a critic of Russia’s aggression towards Chechnya to be silenced.
Following Nemtsov’s demise, the Russian government moved quickly to condemn his muder. The authorities have since suggested that the killing was a ‘provocation’ timed to undermine Putin, and are even investigating the possible role of Islamists, as Nemtsov was ethnically Jewish. Never mind that he was a convert to Russian Orthodoxy. The fact that Nemtsov was a critic of Putin has been rightly emphasised by Russian opposition figures, and Western media. Meanwhile RT has been predictably attacking Western media for its coverage of the killing. This is far from over.