News You Really Need To See: “Murder in the Heart of Moscow Has Hallmarks of Professional Hit”

“Murder in the Heart of Moscow Has Hallmarks of Professional Hit”

Bloomberg Businessweek, February 28, 2015

“The Friday night killing of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov just outside the Kremlin, in one of the most closely watched areas of Russia, bears all the signs of having been planned and executed by professionals.  That’s the assessment of former intelligence officials, analysts and activists familiar with the case. … Nemtsov’s slaying echoes a series of politically sensitive murders and contract killings during Putin’s 15-year rule.  The opposition blames the government for creating an atmosphere of aggression and hatred toward critics, while authorities have floated theories including a plot to destabilize the country and the involvement of Islamist radicals.  Motives aside, the method points to professionals, said Gennady Gudkov, an opposition activist and former secret service officer. … The slaying of a high-profile target who was almost certainly under surveillance by security officials shows a high level of preparation, Soldatov said.  The crime was executed in an area where there’s no place to park a car or ‘hide a killer,’ suggesting the use of several teams and meticulous timing, he said. … To some of Nemtsov’s allies, there’s no ambiguity about the nature of the murder, regardless of the probe.  The accuracy of the shots and the audacity of committing the crime in such a high-security environment suggests the complicity of authorities, according to Vladimir Milov, a former deputy energy minister.”

Quickie Analysis:  Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has said Nemtsov was working on a project to expose Russia’s involvement in Ukraine.  (Most Russians do not believe that Russian troops are fighting in Ukraine.) Although the person who fired the shots may well be “brought to justice,” the person who ordered the killing almost certainly won’t be.

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