Thursday, June 29, 2017

Allies of slain Putin critic Nemtsov allege cover-up after guilty verdict. By Svetlana Reiter and Andrew Osborn

A court on Thursday convicted five men of murdering Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, but the late politician's allies said the investigation had been a cover-up and that the people who had ordered his killing remained at large. Nemtsov, one of President Vladimir Putin's most vocal critics, was murdered in 2015 as he walked across a bridge near the Kremlin after dining with his girlfriend. Aged 55, he had been working on a report examining Russia's role in Ukraine. His killing sent a chill through opposition circles.

After more than eight months of hearings, a jury trial convicted five ethnic Chechen men of his murder, including the man prosecutors said pulled the trigger, Zaur Dadayev, a former soldier in Chechnya. The four others had acted as his accomplices, it said, and the group had been promised a bounty of 15 million rubles ($253,889.59) for the high-profile assassination, tailing Nemtsov around Moscow before choosing their moment to strike.

Nemtsov's supporters welcomed the verdict, but said Dadayev and the others were low-level operatives. The case remained unsolved, they said, because those who had ordered, financed and organized the hit had not been caught. "It's the biggest crime of the century and yet they haven't identified the real organizers or those who ordered it," Vadim Prokhorov, a lawyer for the late politician's daughter, told reporters after the verdict.

"The Russian government was not prepared to look into the entourage of (Chechen leader Ramzan) Kadyrov," he said, despite his view that one of the masterminds was a close associate of the Chechen strongman. Zhanna Nemtsova, the slain politician's daughter, has repeatedly said she wanted Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed head of Chechnya who calls himself "Putin's foot soldier", to be questioned about what he knew about the case. Kadyrov has praised the trigger man Dadayev as a "true patriot of Russia." But Kadyrov, who has denied allegations he was personally involved, never appeared before the court.

ROOTS 'GO STRAIGHT TO THE TOP'

The Kremlin, just like it did when journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in 2006, has downplayed Nemtsov's significance, calling his killing a "provocation" designed to cause problems for the Russian authorities… read more:
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-nemtsov-idUSKBN19K1UI

see also

EVGENIA LEZINA - The revival of ideology in Russia