Live and die in Moscow: Putin’s political enemies and a tribute to Boris Nemtsov

On Friday February 28, 2015, Boris Nemtsov, a vocal opponent of Russian president Vladimir Putin, was murdered. He was walking on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge when one of two scenarios unfolded; either A, as reported by Meduza,  that several gunmen exited a car on the bridge and shot him, or  B, as reported by the Moscow Police, that a white car pulled up next to him and shot him from the window with a pistol. In either case, he was killed, and all evidence points to it being a contract killing.

On February 10, he said to Russia’s  Sobesednik news website that “I am afraid Putin will kill me.” Putin denies all involvement; he dismisses it as an attack by Islamists.

Nemtsov opposed Putin’s foreign policy towards Ukraine and was going to rally for an anti-war protest on March 1st. Nemtsov was also an influential speaker, as he was a former deputy prime minister.

He was an opponent of Putin. He is also the most recent casualty in the long list of Putin’s enemies to be killed. In August 2002, a member of Parliament from Liberal Russia (a political party against Putin) named Vladimir Golovlev was shot dead in Moscow. In April 2003, another member of the same party, Sergei Yushenkov,  was gunned down outside his apartment. A commission he was on was investigating Putin for a possible bombing scheme in Moscow.

Yuri Shchekochikhin, who was also on the commission, began to die from a mysterious illness which, according to BBC, made “his internal organs begin collapsing one by one.” It is suspected he was poisoned using thallium. He was also an investigative journalist who attacked Putin over various interviews. This was in July 2003.

In 2004, three attacks were made on the lives of Putin’s enemies. In June, Professor Nikolai Girenko, an expert on Putin’s discriminatory policies, was shot in his home under suspicious circumstances. A month later, in July, Paul Klebnikov, a Forbes editor, was shot in his office. He was reportedly investigating a money laundering scheme which he traced back to the Kremlin.

In October of 2006, an investigative journalist named Anna Politkovskaya was gunned down outside her apartment. She had published several articles and books in which she denounced Putin as a dictator. Later, in November, another member on the commission (which contained Shchekochikhin and Yushenkov), ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium-212 in a London hotel.

March 2007. A journalist named Ivan Safronov had written about Russian weapon sales to Syria and Iran, a move that would have angered Russian allies. It was suspected that he was pushed out a window on the fifth floor of his apartment building by unknown assailants.

A man in January 2009 named Stanslav Markelov was speaking at a press conference. He had just announced plans to sue the Putin administration when he was shot in the back of the head with a silenced pistol.

Finally, Boris Berezovsky, a Russian business tycoon who was disliked by Putin was found shot to death in his United Kingdom home.

Attacks such as these could be nothing but a set of isolated incidents linked by criticism of the government- or they could be everything. After seeing this evidence, take action. Go to your Facebooks, Twitters, Instagrams and all types of communication and express your feelings on the Russian government.