2 suspects detained in murder of Boris Nemtsov

07.03.2015 14:01

Two suspects have been
detained in the killing a week ago of
opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, the
head of Russia's federal security service
said Saturday, an announcement received
with both skepticism and reserved
satisfaction by some of Nemtsov's
Alexander Bortnikov, in comments shown
on state television, said the two suspects
were from Russia's North Caucasus region,
but gave no details other than their
He said they were "suspected of carrying
out this crime," but it was not clear if
either of the suspects was believed to
have fired the shots that killed Nemtsov as
he and a companion walked over a bridge
near the Kremlin on Feb. 27. No charges
were immediately announced.
Nemtsov's killing shocked Russia's already
beleaguered and marginalized opposition
supporters. Suspicion in the opposition is
high that the killing was ordered by the
Kremlin in retaliation for Nemtsov's
adamant criticism of President Vladimir
Putin. The 55-year-old was working on a
report about Russian military involvement
in the eastern Ukraine conflict.
But Russia's top investigative body said it
was investigating several possible motives,
including that he was killed in an attempt
to smear Putin's image. It also said it was
looking into possible connections to
Islamic extremism and Nemtsov's personal
Many believe that Nemtsov's death in a
tightly secured area near the Kremlin
wouldn't have been possible without
official involvement, and could be an
attempt to scare other government foes.
Putin dubbed Nemtsov's killing a
One of Nemtsov's closest allies in the
opposition, Ilya Yashin, said on Fcebook
after the announcement that "It's hard to
judge whether these are the real
performers of if the investigation went
down a false track."
In any case, he said, "it's extremely
important that the matter not be limited to
detention of the shooters, whether these
are the real killers or not. The key task is
the identification and detention of who
ordered" the attack.
"For the time being, it's very skimpy
information, which tells us little, but it's
good that the first results of the
investigation has appeared," another
opposition leader, former Prime Minister
Mikhail Kasyanov, was quoted as telling
the news agency Interfax.
In some previous killings of Kremlin critics,
especially the murder of journalist Anna
Politkovskaya in 2006, there has been wide
criticism that those who ordered the killing
have not been identified or prosecuted.
The North Caucasus region from which the
suspects reportedly come includes
Chechnya, where two separtatist rebels
fought two wars against Russian forces
over the past two decades and which now
is in under the tight control of Kremlin-
backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
Kadyrov has been widely criticized for
brutality against opponents, including
summary executions and abductions, and
is a vehement defender of Putin. He
blamed Western security services for
Nemtsov's killing.
The suspects were identified as Anzor
Gubashev and Zaur Dadaev. No further
information was given about them, but
opposition figures unearthed a statement
from the Chechen government from 2010
in which a Zaur Dadaev was among the
police troops awarded medals.
Kremlin critics say the spiteful nationalist
propaganda on state television, which cast
Nemtsov and other liberals as Western
stooges, helped prepare the ground for his