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Refusal to recognize Boris Nemtsov’s murder as political assassination upheld


On March 14, the Moscow City Court rejected an appeal against the refusal to reclassify the murder of former Russian Prime Minister and fierce Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov as an attempt on the life of a government or public figure (a more serious charge).  The need for an international investigation is clear and urgent.  

Vadim Prokhorov had lodged the appeal on behalf of Nemtsov’s family against the ruling passed by the Basmanny Court on Dec 24, 2015.  The court also upheld the refusal to recognize the Parnas Party as an injured party. 

Boris Nemtsov, former Russian Prime Minister and one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics was gunned down on a bridge near the Kremlin on Feb 27, 2015.  This is one of the most closely guarded areas in Moscow and he was killed 2 days before a march he had co-organized in protest at Moscow’s war against Ukraine.  Nemtsov had consistently opposed and exposed the current regime over a large number of issues, but had most recently been actively probing evidence of Russian military involvement and soldiers’ deaths in Donbas.

Five men, all Chechens, were soon taken into custody and Prokhorov believes that they were indeed implicated in the actual murder. 

Other than that, there has been no success in the ‘investigation’ and there is strong suspicion that no attempts are even being made to find those who ordered Nemtsov’s killing and organized it.  All of this is identical to the pretence of an investigation into the earlier murder of journalist and human rights defender Anna Politkovskaya,

The investigators into Nemtsov’s killing even tried for a long time to push a version whereby Nemtsov had been killed over comments he made about the Charlie Hebdo massacre.  They pushed it hard, but ran up against video footage clearly showing that the defendants began following Nemtsov well before the massacre.  What the investigators will now do with the testimony somehow obtained from key suspect Zaur Dadaev to back this motive is unclear. 

Prokhorov earlier explained that the investigators officially have virtually no video footage from the Moskvoretsky Bridge where the killing took place and none at all of the moment that Nemtsov was gunned down.  Attempts to obtain video footage have proved fruitless with the relevant bodies claiming that they don’t answer for that bridge.  Nemtsov’s family and lawyer are convinced that the Federal Protective Service does have the footage and that they are for some reason concealing it. 

There is also no evidence of any real attempts to find Ruslan Geremeyev, who continues to have no official status in this case, although the investigators have long considered him to be involved.  In Dadayev’s original testimony, he said that he had been commissioned by somebody whom he referred to as ‘Rusik’ to kill Nemtsov.  This Rusik had promised to provide weapons, a car and 5 million roubles each for the murder.  There are serious grounds for believing that this was either Ruslan Geremeyev, former officer of the ‘North’ Battalion and his driver Ruslan Mukhudinov [Rusik is an abbreviated form for Ruslan].  Geremeyev is reported to have disappeared, and many believe that Ramzan Kadyrov, Putin’s protégé and leader of Chechnya, is hiding him.

Prokhorov believes that the investigators assume that this ‘investigation’ will be the same as that of the 2007 killing of Anna Politkovskya.  He and Boris Nemtsov’s daughter Zhanna have no intention of letting that happen.  They want to ensure that on each foreign trip Putin is asked about who organized and commissioned Nemtsov’s killing.

Please help by endorsing an appeal for an independent international investigation

Halya Coynash
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