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Putin Awards Murder Suspect, Leader Who Praised Death of Opposition Member

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Russian President Vladimir Putin claims he was not involved in the deaths of ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko and opposition leader Boris Nemstov. However, in the span of two days, he bestowed special honors on the prime suspect in Litvinenko’s death, Andrei Lugovoi, and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who praised Nemtsov’s murderer.

Andrei Lugovoi received a state medal due to “his contribution to developing Russia’s parliament;” The Moscow Times reported it is “for services to the fatherland” while The Guardian claimed it is “for services to the motherland.” He is also the deputy of the pro-Kremlin Democrat Party.

Litvinenko died in London in late November 2006, a few weeks after his tea was poisoned. He fell ill after he met with Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun. Russia refused to extradite the men. London is currently holding an inquiry into Litvinenko’s death. A day before he died, he accused Putin of poisoning him. Ben Emmerson, the Queen’s Counsel for Marina Litvinenko, claimed “the timing of Putin’s decision was no coincidence” and recently “a substantial amount of evidence has been called establishing Lugovoi’s involvement in the murder.”

Lugovoi is also the “deputy head of the state Duma committee on security and countering corruption.”

Ramzan Kadyrov’s award also raised numerous eyebrows. The Kremlin claims the “Order of Honour” award was planned months ago. He received the award for his “professional achievements, public activities, and many years of diligent work.” Only 24 hours ago, Kadyrov hailed Nemtsov’s murderer as a hero and a “patriot of Russia.” The Kremlin arrested Zaur Dadayev for Nemtsov’s murder and he allegedly confessed to the murder. Kadyrov claims Dadayev was “fully devoted to Russia” and acted in response to Nemtsov’s support for Charlie Hebdo.

“I knew Zaur as a genuine Russian patriot,” declared Kadyrov. “He was the deputy commander of the battalion, and one of the most fearless and courageous soldiers of the regiment.”

He continued:

Everyone who knows Zaur says he is deeply religious person and like all Muslims was very shocked by the actions of Charlie [Hebdo] and by comments supporting the printing of the caricatures. If the court finds Dadayev guilty then by killing a person he has committed a grave crime. But I want to note that he could not do anything that was against Russia, for which he has risked his own life for many years.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Nemtsov died on February 27 when he was gunned down on a Moscow bridge just a few feet from the Kremlin. The cameras were turned off “for repairs.” Putin said he wants “the investigation under his personal control.” However, Nemtsov’s allies believe Putin had a hand in the murder.


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