Boris Nemtsov, the man who is considered Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foe, in holding the support of the Russian people, was shot just before midnight on Friday, February 27. This caused tens of thousands of fellow Russians who oppose Putin to assemble in Moscow on Sunday with flowers and black ribbons to honor the Russian opposition leader.
The mourners marched to the bridge near the Kremlin where Nemtsov was shot. Mostly the mourners were silent in respect for their leader, but would on occasion break out into chants of “Russia without Putin” and “Say no to war.”
The killingof Nemtsov has impacted the Russian opposition, causing fear among them. Ilya Yashin who was a fellow opposition leader commented, “It is an act of terror. It is a political murder aimed at frightening the population that supported Nemtsov, and did not agree with the government. I hope we won’t get scared.”
There is still speculation surrounding who shot Nemtsov, with the Russian opposition holding the Kremlin responsible. While on the other hand, Putin stated, “This cruel murder has all the makings of a contract hit and is extremely provocative.” Putin has ordered Russia’s top law enforcement to investigate. They are looking into several motives behind the killing.
Whoever is responsible, it sends a message to Putin’s foes that if the head opposition leader can be killed, then no one is really safe. One of the possible motives for the killing was that Nemtsov was working on presenting evidence that proved Russia’s involvement in the separatist rebellion happening in Eastern Ukraine, though the Russian government denies giving any aid to the rebels.
No matter the motives or the result from Nemtsov’s death it was “absolutely devastating” as was said by Marina Litvinenko, the widow of a murdered Russian spy who feels the Russian government has become particularly aggressive since the Ukraine crisis. President Obama said, “The Russian people lost one of the most dedicated and eloquent defenders of their rights.” Boris Nemtsov was honored on Sunday by many who followed him and will continue in what he was doing and standing for.