An outpouring of grief and condolences pouring for slain Russian opposition leaders Boris Nemtsov. The prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin was gunned down on the street, steps away from the Kremlin. Putin has pledged a thorough investigation. CCTV’s Anya Ardayeva reported from Moscow, where Nemtsov supporters have planned a memorial march in his honor.
Boris Nemtsov, 55-year old, was shot in the back near the Kremlin shortly before midnight on Friday. The assailants approached him in a car and fired four shots. Muscovite brought flowers and lit candles at the site of the crime on Saturday.
The murder came just a day before a planned opposition rally in Moscow, and thousands of people were expected to attend. Opposition leaders, Sergei Mitrokhin, called on Russians to attend a vigil on Sunday in central Moscow to mourn Boris Nemtsov instead.
“I would say this is not only a blow to the opposition, it is a blow to the whole Russian society. It is a blow to Russia. If political views are punished this way, then this country simply has no future,” Mitrokhin said.
Boris Nemtsov, who’s political career began in the rush of post-Soviet reforms under former Russian president Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s, was known as one of the most fierce critics of the Kremlin during Vladimir Putin’s era. Russia’s Investigative Committee said the murder could be an attempt to destabilize the political situation in the country.
“Currently, the investigation is looking into several lines of inquiry. First of all of course, it is the possibility that the murder could be a provocation to destabilize the political situation in Russia. Nemtsov could become a sacrificial victim for those who won’t stop at anything to reach their political goals,” spokesman of Russian Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin said.
Presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov said the murder is an “extreme provocation”. In a telegram to Boris Nemtsov’s mother Dina Eydman, Vladimir Putin promised that everything will be done to find and punish her son’s killers.
Boris Nemtsov’s killing comes as U.S. and Europe face the most tense standoff with Russia in decades over the conflict in Ukraine. World leaders across the globe, including David Cameron and Barack Obama have expressed dismay over the murder and called on Russian authorities to ensure that the killers are brought to justice.