|Posted by George Freund on February 28, 2015 at 8:25 AM|
Politician Boris Nemtsov, 55, was one of Vladimir Putin's fiercest critics
He was shot four times in 'politically motivated' attack near Kremlin
Nemtsov was walking over bridge with Ukranian model Anna Duritskaya, 23
Russian opposition leader had been due to take part in protest tomorrow
He had been working on report about Russia's involvement in Ukraine
Hours before death he condemned Putin's 'mad and deadly' policy of war
Father-of-four's mother, 87, had a premonition that he would be killed
Putin condemned murder, saying it may have been 'contract killing'
Hundreds of mourners have lit candles and laid flowers at site of murder
World leaders including David Cameron have condemned 'callous murder'
By WILL STEWART and JENNY AWFORD and NICK ENOCH FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 22:30 GMT, 27 February 2015 | UPDATED: 12:55 GMT, 28 February 2015
Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was gunned down in a 'politically motivated' attack in front of his 23-year-old Ukrainian model girlfriend, according to reports.
The former deputy Prime Minister, 55, and fierce critic of Vladimir Putin was 'under surveillance' by his killers before he was shot in the shadow of the Kremlin the day before an anti-Putin protest.
He had been out for dinner with Anna Duritskaya, 23, at a restaurant inside GUM, a department store in Moscow's Red Square in the hours before his death, and the pair then went for a walk.
The married father-of-four was shot four times by assailants in a white car as the couple walked across a bridge over the Moskva River at midnight on Friday but the 23-year-old model was unhurt.
'The murderers knew Nemtsov's route, he was spied on,' said a police source.
He had been working on a report presenting evidence he believed proved Russia's direct involvement in the separatist rebellion that erupted in eastern Ukraine last year.
Just hours before his death, Nemtsov told Ekho Moskvy radio that Putin had pushed Russia into an economic crisis through his 'mad, aggressive and deadly policy of war against Ukraine.'
Nemtsov, 55, (right) had been out for dinner with his Ukranian model girlfriend Anna Duritskaya, 23, (left) in the hours before his death. The couple had been dating for several years, according to reports
The father-of-four was shot four times by assailants in a white car as he walked across a bridge over the Moskva River
Hundreds of mourners have gathered today at the site where the Russian opposition leader was killed and a protest march in memory of the politician is expected to take place later today
A distressed woman was seen crying at the site where the popular politician was assassinated
President Putin has condemned the murder and assumed 'personal control' of the investigation into the killing, said his spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Mr Peskov, said the shooting could also be a 'provocation' as the opposition has planned a big protest in Moscow on Sunday.
The Russian leader has asked the heads of Russia's Investigative Committee, Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service to investigative and put the case under their personal supervision.
David Cameron has said he is 'shocked and sickened by the callous murder' and called for a transparent investigation.
Nemtsov was one of the organisers of the Spring March opposition protest set for Sunday, which comes amid an economic downturn in Russia caused by low oil prices and Western sanctions.
The liberal reformer, who has four children, is believed to have been dating was Ms Duritskaya for several years, despite his marriage to Raisa Akhmetovna and four-children.
The Ukrainian model spoke to police and helped them to establish the sequence of events.
Opposition activist Ilya Yashin told Ekho Moskvy radio he had no doubt that Mr Nemtsov's murder was politically motivated.
Medics carry the body of Nemtsov. The politician was highly critical of the government's inefficiency, rampant corruption and the Kremlin's policy on Ukraine, which has strained Russia-West ties to a degree unseen since Cold War times
An unidentified assassin shot Mr Nemtsov (above, in 2010 at an anti-Kremlin march) four times while he was walking with a woman near the Kremlin
A man mourns as he lays flowers at the site of murder of Boris Nemtsov in central Moscow
The married father-of-four was shot four times by assailants in a white car as the couple walked across a bridge over the Moskva River
Russian opposition leaders Ilya Yashin (left) and Ksenia Sobchak (right), soon after the death of Nemtsov. Yashin told Ekho Moskvy radio that he last spoke with Nemtsov two days before the killing
He said: 'Boris Nemtsov was a stark opposition leader who criticised the most important state officials in our country, including President Vladimir Putin.
'As we have seen, such criticism in Russia is dangerous for one's life. He got lots of threats, mostly via social networks, anonymously.
'I have no doubt this was a political killing. The only threat to his life came from his political activity. He had no foes other than political ones.'
Nemtsov's death came one year after the Russian annexation of Crimea in a special operation by Russian special forces. The politician was a strong and outspoken critic of Putin's policy on Ukraine.
Just hours earlier, Putin had declared 27 February a new 'professional holiday' for special operation soldiers in his armed forces and secret services.
Political analyst Sergey Parkhomenko alluding to this new holiday said that Nemtsov's killing was carefully planned and a 'present' for someone.
'There is a war going on here. If someone thinks otherwise... we're now living in a country that is fully-fledged in a war.'
'Nemtsov's murder is a terrible tragedy for Russia,' said ex-finance minister Alexei Kudrin, a Putin ally.
Britain has said it will follow closely investigations into the killing.
Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: 'I am shocked and sickened by the callous murder of Boris Nemtsov as he walked in the heart Moscow last night.
'This despicable act must be fully, rapidly and transparently investigated, and those responsible brought to justice.
'Boris Nemtsov was a man of courage and conviction. His life was dedicated to speaking up tirelessly for the Russian people, to demanding their right to democracy and liberty under the rule of law, and to an end to corruption.
'He did so without fear, and never gave in to intimidation. He was greatly admired in Britain, not least by his friend Lady Thatcher, who visited him in Russia and who would have been appalled by today's news. The courage of Nemtsov's life contrasts with the utter cowardice of his murder.
'I extend my condolences to Boris Nemtsov's family and friends. The Russian people have been deprived of a champion of their rights. Boris Nemtsov is dead. But the values he stood for will never die.'
US President Barack Obama has also condemned the 'brutal murder', the White House National Security Council said tonight on Twitter.
The White House called on the Russian government to conduct a 'prompt, impartial and transparent investigation' and to 'ensure those responsible are brought to justice.'
A man cries at the spot, where Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was shot dead, near Saint-Basil's Cathedral, in the centre of Moscow
Hundreds of mourners have gathered to lay flowers and light candles at the spot Nemtsov was shot dead
People light candles and lay flowers at the site where Nemtsov was shot while walking across a bridge over the Moskva River
'SHOT 4 TIMES, ONCE FOR EACH CHILD HE LEAVES'
(Very little is said of his wife. Would she be a suspect. His wiki profile doesn't even mention her name. Neither do news articles I've seen. That's rather strange and gives a solid clue to the number of rounds fired. A man is running around with a 23 year old hottie. My first question is where's the Mrs.?)
Raisa Ahmetovna Nemtsova
Chairman of the Human Rights Foundation and former chess champion Garry Kasparov last night tweeted: 'Devastated to hear of the brutal murder of my long-time opposition colleague Boris Nemtsov. Shot 4 times, once for each child he leaves.
'Boris's quality no longer fit Putin's Russia. He always believed Russia could change from inside without violence; after 2012, I disagreed.
'When we argued, Boris would tell me I was too hasty, that in Russia you had to live a long time to see change. Now he'll never see it. RIP.'
Journalist Anna Politkovskaya, also a critic of Putin, was shot dead in a lift in October 2006, and former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko is thought to have been poisoned by Russians in London and died a month later.
Some also believe that Boris Berezovsky, the Russian oligarch and another critic of Putin, may have been murdered after he was found hanged in the bathroom of his Ascot home in March 2013.
A woman mourns for the loss of the former deputy prime minister and vocal critic of Vladimir Putin
Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev (centre) is shown the place where Nemtsov was killed in central Moscow
Police cars blocked the street where Nemtsov was shot, and an ambulance was also nearby
Obama said he met Nemtsov in Moscow in 2009 when the Russian was willing to 'share his candid views with me'.
'We offer our sincere condolences to his family and to the Russian people, who have lost one of the most dedicated and eloquent defenders of their rights,' he said.
Police cars blocked the street where Nemtsov was shot, and an ambulance was also nearby.
'Nemtsov B.E. died at 2340 hours as a result of four shots in the back,' an Interior Ministry spokeswoman said.
Nemtsov, 55, first gained an international profile after being spotted by former British premier Margaret Thatcher as a future leader of Russia, and she praised his market reforms after visiting Nizhny Novgorod where as governor in the early 1990s he led spearheaded reforms.
Later he rose to become deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltsin, but he was always opposed as too Western and liberal by hardliners.
He had angered the government two years ago when he charged that billions of dollars had been stolen from funds designated for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, his home town.
He blamed 'Putin's friends' for the alleged embezzlement, which he described as 'a real threat to Russia's national security.'
Putin's former premier Mikhail Kasyanov, now an opposition leader, said: 'The comments are very easy: the bastards.
'They killed my friend in Moscow city centre, near the Kremlin wall.'
CONTINUE AT THE BLOG SITE:
Boris Nemtsov with Yulia Timoshenko and Petro Poroshenko in Kiev, January 23, 2005.
Was he a lady's man or sympathetic to the Ukrainian fascists?
Either one could be motive for murder.
Categories: New World Order