Russian authorities have arrested two suspects in the death of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. The arrest did not cause celebration but doubt over the legitimacy of the announcement.
Federal Security Service director Alexander Bortnikov announced the police arrested Anzor Kubashev and Zaur Davayev as they are “suspected of carrying out this crime.” He did not state if the two men were in the car from which Nemtsov was shot, fired the shots, or even the charges against them. The Investigative Committee, the organization in charge of the investigation, also released a vague statement.
“The individuals detained are, according to our investigation, involved in the organization and execution of the killing of Boris Nemtsov,” it said.
The two men are allegedly from the Caucasus, an unstable area and home to rebellions against Russia. The Investigation Committee said they are still investigating motives of the two men. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov believes “the murder is a provocation meant to make Putin look guilty.” The committee is exploring the possibility Ukrainian secret services carried out the murder or even radical Islamic groups within the Caucasus region.
Despite the arrest, many still believe Putin ordered the assassination.
“Organizers should be looked for in Putin’s inner circle,” claimed Ilya Yashin, one of Nemtsov’s ally. “Given that Putin, who was criticized by Nemtsov, benefited the most, investigators should make that version the key one.”
Yashin, the co-chairman of Nemtsov’s Republican Party of Russia, never heard of the men Russia arrested. Other leaders within the party never heard of them as well.
“I want to believe that these ones are really the ones who conducted (the killing) and that once in a while law enforcement worked professionally and detained real assassins, and did not make a mistake,” he stressed. “The key task for investigators is to find and prosecute the ones who ordered this murder. If everything ends with the detention of scapegoats, irrespective of whether they are the real assassins or not, the practice of political assassinations will continue with no doubt.”
Russia did not tell Nemtsov’s daughter Zhanna about the arrest. She only learned about the arrest from the media.
“I have no idea who they are,” she told the media when asked if she knew the suspects.
Putin’s opponents often do not last long in the public eye. Oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky disagreed with Putin once he took office. After that, Khodorkovsky faced charges of tax evasion in 2002. Putin swooped in, took over Khodorkovsky’s company Yukos, which at the time was Russia’s largest oil and energy production, and redistributed it among others. The most profitable parts of the company were rewarded to Rosneft, headed by Igor Sechin, one of Putin’s closest friends from his days at the KGB.
Gunmen murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006. She published books that were critical of Putin’s war in Chechnya. Ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko died in London in 2006 after he met with two former KGB agents. Someone poisoned his tea, and he pointed the finger at Putin two weeks before he died.