The Assassination of Boris Nemtsov: Kremlin’s Biggest Critic
Vladimir Kara-Murza told &# 171; Voice of America on the OSCE report &# 171; Nemtsov’s assassination and the rule of law in Russia
On February 20, 2020 in Vienna, within the framework of the opened winter session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, a document was presented, which was commissioned to create a year ago – a report on the investigation into the murder of Boris Nemtsov. It was prepared by the Vice-Chairperson of the OSCE PA from Sweden Margareta Sederfeld, the title of the report – «Nemtsov’s assassination and the rule of law in Russia».
The 43-page document details the progress of the investigation into the murder of Boris Nemtsov in Russia. The report analyzes the shortcomings and shortcomings, as well as limitations that emerged during the investigation and trial. – in particular, the refusal, despite the numerous demands of the lawyers of the family of Boris Nemtsov, in the interrogation of the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov and director of the Russian Guard Viktor Zolotov.
The report also details Margareta Sederfeld’s attempts to reach out to the Russian authorities in an effort to gain access to documents and secure meetings with officials. All these attempts, as reported by the OSCE rapporteur in the text, were rejected: the Russian Ambassador to Sweden canceled the meeting originally scheduled with her, none of her letters was answered, and as a result, the Russian Foreign Ministry sent an official written letter to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. refusal to grant Sederfeld access to documents on the investigation into the murder of Boris Nemtsov on the pretext that it contains a state secret. At the same time, according to the lawyers of Boris Nemtsov’s family, there are no documents containing state secrets in the case..
About Ramzan Kadyrov, questions about whose connection with the murder of Boris Nemtsov were asked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the report says the following: «Ramzan Kadyrov has taken on the role of President Putin’s defender, making aggressive public threats against the Russian opposition. Previously, he was implicated in a number of high-profile killings both in the Russian Federation and abroad, in particular, of his own opponents from among the Chechens, as well as critics of Putin. Among the most famous murders are the murder of the Yamadayev brothers, his rivals for power in Chechnya, and the murder of human rights activist Natalya Estemirova.».
The OSCE report also examines the general climate of intimidation and violence against dissent, which has intensified especially in Russia since 2014, repressive laws on «foreign agents» and «undesirable organizations», the rapid strengthening of the role of special services and their role in the conduct of state policy in Russia.
As reported «Voice of America» Vladimir Kara-Murza, chairman of the board of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation, who participated in the presentation of the report in Vienna, the report made a clear conclusion that the Russian law enforcement agencies did not fully investigate the murder of one of the opposition leaders, and this crime must be disclosed anew and in full:
«For me, the main things in this report are on the last page. The first – this is a specific and direct recommendation to the EU countries to introduce legislation on personal sanctions against human rights violators on their territory (what we call "the Magnitsky law") and use these laws to impose sanctions against people involved in organizing the murder of Boris Nemtsov. This was already done by the US government last year in relation to Ruslan Geremeev. Second important thing – This is the conclusion that the main problem with overcoming impunity for the organizers and customers of the murder of Boris Nemtsov is connected not with the professionalism of Russian law enforcement agencies, but with political will».
The chairman of the board of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation stated that what was said in the report «everyone has long and well understood, but only now it is for the first time said officially on behalf of the world‘s largest interregional organization in the field of security».
Vladimir Kara-Murza spoke about the atmosphere in which the presentation of the report took place: «These public hearings, where I was also one of the speakers, were attended by representatives of many delegations, including Americans, Belgians, representatives of the Scandinavian countries. – wide geography, but there was not a single representative of the official Russian delegation. They deliberately ignored the presentation of the report. Of the 14 so-called Russian parliamentarians attending the OSCE PA session, none considered it necessary to attend the presentation of the report on the investigation into the murder of the leader of the Russian opposition».
Vladimir Kara-Murza says in an interview «Voice of America», that he has three questions to the Russian authorities in connection with the murder of Boris Nemtsov: «First – Why is the Russian authorities so thoroughly covering up everyone who is above the level of ordinary performers? Second question – Why did the Russian authorities completely refuse any cooperation with international supervisory procedures in the Nemtsov case, be it in the Council of Europe, or now in the OSCE? And the third, probably the most important question: if an officer of the Interior Ministry troops, acting on behalf of an influential regional leader, was one of the grassroots organizers of the murder of Boris Nemtsov, then who was the final customer??»
Boris Nemtsov’s associate recalls that neither the international oversight procedure in the OSCE to investigate the murder of the leader of the Russian opposition, nor the report prepared earlier in PACE on this issue, can replace a full-fledged investigation in Russia: «In fact, the speaker herself spoke about this. The report says that definitive answers to all these questions can be given only when a full-fledged real investigation takes place in Russia. I have no doubt that the day will come when such an investigation will definitely take place, and we will receive these answers.».