Did Charlie Hebdo Attackers Kill Russian Dissenter Boris Nemtsov?

Boris Nemtsov
Boris Nemtsov

By Rakesh Raman

Among multiple theories about the assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, local investigation agencies in Moscow are not ruling out the possibility that he was killed by Islamic militant group that attacked French magazine Charlie Hebdo’s staff in January.

Quoting a spokesman for the investigation committee, the Kremlin-sponsored news site RT reports that Nemtsov had received threats for his position over the shooting of Charlie Hebdo staff in Paris and it could be a revenge killing by radical Islamists.

Nemtsov, a staunch critic of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead Friday in Moscow. He was killed soon after announcing a rally planned for Sunday to oppose the Putin-supported war with Ukraine.

Nemtsov was also the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia under President Boris Yeltsin in 1998.

In a recent interview, according to BBC, Nemtsov had said he feared Putin would have him killed because of his opposition to the war in Ukraine.

Putin, however, said that the people behind this crime will be held accountable.

In December last year, another Putin critic Alexei Navalny was found guilty by a local court in a fraud case, which was believed to be politically influenced.

Navalny, 38, is a Russian Opposition Coordination Council member and the leader of the Russian political party Progress Party, formerly People’s Alliance.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has warned Russia of strong actions if Putin didn’t stop attacks on Ukraine. “Europe and the United States tried to bring Russia into the community of nations in a constructive manner, but Russian President Vladimir Putin has other ideas,” Vice President Joe Biden said in Munich.

Russia’s actions against Ukraine, its bullying of neighboring nations and its repression of dissent at home worry U.S. and European leaders, and they must remain focused against the threat, Biden said at the annual Munich Security Conference.

By Rakesh Raman, the managing editor of RMN Company

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