Russia’s anti-Putin activists mark Nemtsov murder, amid threats and attacks

UK News 24 – ABP.

MOSCOW – Thousands of people gathered in Moscow on Saturday to remember Boris Nemtsov, the Russian opposition leader and former prime minister who was gunned down by an assassin within sight of the Kremlin in Moscow on this day one year ago.

Nemtsov, who was a staunch critic of President Vladimir Putin, was murdered on Feb. 27, 2015, as he walked with his girlfriend across a bridge to his home. The killing occurred on the eve of an opposition march against Putin that he was set to lead and shortly before the release of a damning report he complied on Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.
Demonstrators on Saturday placed flowers at the site where he was slayed before marching through the Russian capital. Many carried photos of the opposition politician and activist, as well as placards that read “For Russia without Putin.”

A year after Nemtsov’s death, Russia’s government has yet to bring to justice those who planned or carried out his murder. And the killing has not put an end to attacks and threats against Russia’s liberal opposition. Instead, they have continued, with an organizer of a provincial march in memory of Nemtsov being beaten by unknown attackers Friday morning outside the factory where he works.

Pussy Riot’s Masha Alyokhina, 27, who was convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and imprisoned for nearly two years, knows a thing or two about going up against the Kremlin. Speaking to news agencies on Thursday, she painted a grim picture of life is like in Moscow for those who oppose Putin in the post-Nemtsov era.

Russian authorities “showed the price of the protest is not only your freedom; it’s your life now,” she said.

In recent weeks, the Chechen strongman leader Kadyrov, who many believe played a role in Nemtsov’s killing, launched a series of brazen threats against opposition leaders via his Instagram account, where he has 1.7 million followers.

In language reminiscent of the Stalinist purges, Kadyrov denounced the opposition as “traitors” and “enemies of the people,” even posting a video featuring former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov and fellow opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza in the crosshairs of sniper rifle The video was particularly ominous since Kara-Murza nearly died last year of what he claimed was deliberate poisoning.

A week later, Kasyanov had a cake thrown in his face at a Moscow restaurant by a group of men some said were Chechens. This week, opposition leader Alexey Navalny also had cake tossed in his face.

“It always starts with harmless pranks, and when society gets used to the fact that it is OK to behave like that toward opposition leaders… that means tomorrow you can ratchet up the pressure,” Dmitry Gudkov, the only opposition member in Russia’s parliament, told news agencies. “If the government does not crack down on this right now, it will mean that it either has no control

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Getty images – AP

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