Boris Nemtsov

Who Ordered the Assassination of Russian Liberal Icon Boris Nemtsov?

Visiting the bridge where he was murdered.

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Ronald Bailey

The first thing I did after getting to my hotel in Moscow (I am giving some lectures this week in Russia and Ukraine) was to walk through Red Square to the bridge over the Moskva River where Russian liberal patriot Boris Nemtsov was gunned down on February 27th. The bridge, located right next to the Kremlin, is lined with bouquets, candles, posters, black ribbons, and Russian flags put there by bereft supporters. President Vladimir Putin promised to "personally" run the investigation into the murder. So far the police have arrested 5 Chechens (another blew himself up with a grenade before arrest) as the alleged perpetrators.

Newsweek has a really good article describing how an out-of-control Putin loyalist and Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov might have orchestrated the hit. If so, did Kadyrov act alone or on orders from above?

From Newsweek

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Ronald Bailey

… leading journalist and opposition activist Ksenia Sobchak announced she was thinking of leaving Russia after she learned her name was on a Chechen hit list of liberal "traitors."

"It would be in some way less worrying if Putin had ordered Nemtsov's killing," blogged liberal activist Sobchak, who has known Putin since childhood because her father was the first mayor of post-Soviet Leningrad—and Putin's boss and patron. "It would be an awful system, but at least a system, a manageable system. But this is not the case. There is no Putin who gave a command to kill. But there is a Putin who has built a hellish Terminator and he has lost control of it. There is no one controlling the process any more—there is chaotic hatred that is fueled every day by the federal mass media."

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Ronald Bailey

The more disturbing story behind Nemtsov's murder is that the Kremlin has opened a Pandora's box of paranoia and violence that it can no longer control. Nemtsov's killing may come to be seen as a turning point—not only as the day when the liberal opposition lost a leader but also as the day the ultranationalist death squads first took to the streets of Moscow. As Sobchak puts it, the rounds that killed Nemtsov "are only the first six bullets. There are troubled times ahead."

Chess champion and liberal opposition leader Garry Kasparov told Newsweek:

 "Putin must be held responsible for the murder of Boris. Who ordered it? I don't care."

I am dedicating each of my lectures this trip to the memory of my friend and colleague Paul Klebnikov, the editor of Forbes Russia, who was gunned down on a Moscow street on July 9, 2004. No one has been punished for his murder.

See Reason.tv's interview with Kasparov on the "West's Shameful Appeasement of Putin" below:

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  1. Oh, come on! It had to be that ex-KGB thu

    fhuhfohhf389!$@#!

  2. Oh, come on! It had to be that ex-KGB thu

    fhuhfohhf389!$@#!

    1. IT WAS MOST CERTAINLY NOT GLORIOUS VLADIMIR PUTIN, BELOVED LEADER OF GLORIOUS SOVIE- er – RUSSIA!

      1. That’s better. Now get going on that Borscht.

        1. IT IS SPELLED BORSHCH, CAPITALIST CORRUPTER OF WORKING PEOPLE!

          1. ffhluugoohhght!@#

            Sorry, I was choking on a cheezit. What did you say?

          2. CAPITALIST CORRUPTER OF WORKING PEOPLE

            This is definitely going on my business card.

  3. Say “Hi” to Snowden for me.

  4. I wonder if Putin in too clever for his own good, sort of like Long Feng in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Once a stronger strong-man comes along, things can get very bad very quickly.

    1. Does Putin have his own Lake Laogai?

  5. Just a hunch: Putin purposely creates muderous Terminator to intimidate and inflict violence on dissidents of his regime, claims no knowledge of such actions and deflects blame to Chechen boogie men. Seems like standard operating procedure for the current Czar of the Rus.

  6. OT: It’s really nice when someone proves themselves to be a monstrous hypocrite this easily:

    New York Times columnist Adam Liptak in 2014: For Justices, speech often means ‘speech I agree with.’

    “The findings are a twist on the comment by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. that the First Amendment protects “freedom for the thought that we hate.” On the Supreme Court, the First Amendment appears to protect freedom for the thought of people we like.”

    New York Times Columnist Adam Liptak Yesterday: First Amendment, ‘Patron Saint’ of Protesters, Is Embraced by Corporations

    “”Once the patron saint of protesters and the disenfranchised, the First Amendment has become the darling of economic libertarians and corporate lawyers who have recognized its power to immunize private enterprise from legal restraint,” Professor Wu wrote.”

    “By the time the left woke up and realized it had made “a Faustian bargain,” Professor Neuborne wrote, “the bipartisan coalition had generated an enormously powerful body of precedent establishing an imperial free speech clause.””

    1. establishing an imperial free speech clause.””

      Those damn conservatives and libertarians, imposing liberty on people and oppressing everyone with free speech!

      1. To Be or not To Be? That is the Question that I would really like someone else to answer for me.

    2. imperial free speech

      “We impose upon you the option to speak your mind! Say what you want! Or else…don’t!”

      1. Hearing is involuntary so your speech is violating me. I can’t keep my fingers in my ears all day.

  7. Obviously a Russian conservative did.

    1. You probably actually believe that, dipshit…

      Being as how you are so classically liberal…

    2. BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTTTPLUUUUUUUG

    3. “Who Ordered the Assassination of Russian Liberal Icon Boris Nemtsov?”

      Palin’s Buttplug blames the Tea Party and Ronald Reagan.

  8. “Who Ordered the Assassination of Russian Liberal Icon Boris Nemtsov?
    I know I didn’t.”

    ” I said to myself, this is the business we’ve chosen; I didn’t ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business!”

  9. I have a small collection of photos friends and family have taken over the years flicking off Lenin’s tomb. I’d love to add a Bailey photo to the collection.

    It’s just a suggestion.

  10. When investigating a crime it is not a bad idea to ask the question: Who benefits? I can’t see how the killing of a basically rejected opposition figure from the grim Yeltsin era could benefit Putin. Boris Nemtsov was not even well liked amongst the opposition in Russia; he was openly jeered during the 2011 and 2012 demonstrations in Moscow. In more recent times, Nemtsov’s approval rating was dismal at between 1 and 4 percent. In fact, Putin had something to lose rather than gain with the killing of Nemtsov as it reinforces the image of him as an ‘aggressive dictator’ which has been the focus of the US State Department and media for several years. Actually, the US political establishment did have something to gain for this very reason and the means to carry it out through the CIA. It certainly would not have been the first time the CIA was involved with a political assassination in a foreign country.

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