Sources, not conclusions of Nemtsov’s research on Ukraine frightened Kremlin

Boris Nemtsov Memorial March. The sign says in Russian: "These bullets hit all of us"

Boris Nemtsov Memorial March. The sign says in Russian: "These bullets hit all of us" 

Analysis & Opinion, Russia

The Kremlin had no reason to be afraid of the impact of Boris Nemtsov’s conclusion that there are Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. Despite Moscow’s denials, everyone knows that is the case. But it did have reason to be worried about the sources of his information: the mothers of soldiers who fought and died there.

That is because, Moscow commentator Svetlana Samoilova says, his use of the soldiers’ mothers threatened to win broader sympathy for their plight and thus to create the basis for a new and broader anti-war movement in the Russian Federation, something that Vladimir Putin does not want.

Whether that risk was “a sufficient basis” for Nemtsov’s murder, of course, is something that is impossible to know, she says, “for as Yekaterina Schulmann noted in ‘Vedomosti’ there is no sense in searching for rationality in the actions of those who order and organize political crimes – they live in a different information field.”

Two days ago, Ilya Yashin, a colleague of Nemtsov’s, said he would be publishing the report on Russian troops that his murdered colleague had prepared, and yesterday, the Reuters news agency, citing Olga Shorina, another Nemtsov co-worker, published several portions of that study concerning the participation of Russian troops in the fighting in Ukraine.

Both Shorina and Yashin confirmed that Nemtsov was preparing to include in his report details of his conversations with the mothers and other family members of Russian soldiers who had fought and in some cases died while fighting in Ukraine and thus demonstrate that Putin is lying when he says there are no Russian troops there.

Samoilova suggests that it is highly unlikely that the publication of yet another piece of evidence that Moscow has sent troops into Ukraine would unnerve the Kremlin given how many news outlets in the Russian Federation have already reported that fact. “However,” she adds, “in this situation, there is one ‘but.’ And that is this:

“Nemtsov was not simply collecting information and preparing an information bomb,” the commentator says. “He was trying to work directly with mothers and with the soldiers themselves and thus creating a completely real threat of the socialization of the problem,” a far more serious development from Putin’s point of view.

“In other words,” Samoilova argues, the accusation could acquire a face, that of the soldiers’ mothers, and that face “could elicit sympathy in society and a sense of injustice” because it would become obvious to all that the Putin regime was not prepared to show honor and respect to those who had died in its behalf.

For Russians, as for other nations, such a sense of injustice could prove far more powerful than establishing the facts that the Kremlin continues to deny.

For More Info:

A VICE News investigation: The Kremlin’s Secret War: Russia’s Ghost Army in Ukraine (Full Length)
The Russian aggression in Ukraine has cost thousands of lives, but the Russian government has continuously denied sending its soldiers to the frontlines, despite accusations to the contrary from NATO and Western officials.

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Jens A

    I think Svetlana Samoylova is absolutely right, but we cannot know for sure. Generally Nemtsov did not have broad support in Russia. Back in ’98 and ’99 Russians accepted that the “Family” (under Yeltsin) used Nemtsov as a scapegoat for all the miseries of Russian economy, well knowing that in the area, Nizhny Novgorod, where Nemtsov had real power for a period, it went very fine compare to the other regions. Later, Putin succeed to make people genuinely believe that Nemtsov was to blame.

    It is a strange paradox. Russians know they are filled with lies all the time. Yet, that is the reason why even the most ridiculous “therories” of conspiracy can be believed by even relatively intelligent Russians. I wonder when Russia will wake up and try to be part of a world where common sense rules!?

    As for who did want on the Nemtsov murder, I am afraid we will never know until the criminals in the Kremlin stand trail. Even the big men in black uniforms looked and behaved quite pathetic in Nuremberg and I am sure that Putin’s thugs will perform just as bad or even worse once they stand trail, if ever. I’d love to watch Lavrov being confronted at court with all the garbage he has said over the last year or so.

  • Robert Drake

    The character of this does not need a raised level of reasoning to justify the murder…

    The perceived insolence and the implied traitor status of Nemtsov is no different than the oppositions of many others. This is done on a public AND a private and hidden level. All of these people are dealt with harshly, and as with Putin’s dealing with the upstart Ukrainians, they are taught a lesson that this is very serious business that can get you killed or invaded for challenging the absolute authority of the Russian state — and all the forced deference, economic hegemony, and obedience this implies.

    There are many examples of this, not to mention the treatment of any journalists who might embarrass the government or Putin who are now dead or silenced by coercive imposition.

    Without the regulation of law and a free press and media, Russia’s democracy and economy is and will be subjugated. Without the critical participation of the Russian people demanding a fair and open society, honesty in the press, and a more fair and less corrupt distribution of wealth, they not only get what they deserve, the rest of the world will suffer horribly also.

    Nemtsov represented this small minority of individuals of conscience, unwilling to go along with the conquest of the insolent kids of the Ukraine and opposing the continuing Russian KGB/FSB police state that even now as we speak, becomes stronger and more suffocating by the day. The price of challenging an emerging oppression like this in light of Putin’s ability to get people to approve of this oppression as a national interest, can of course be death, because no one believes there are real consequences for those who order assassinations, beatings, public vilification, and impoverishments for those who dissent.