The Killing of Boris Nemstov and the Impact of Russia on the West

The Killing of Boris Nemstov and the Impact of Russia on the West

“…the murder could be a provocation aimed at destabilising the country.”

Boris Nemstov, a former deputy Russian Prime Minster and a strong opposition politician, was shot four times in the back and consequently died on Friday by an unidentified attacker in a car whilst he was crossing a bridge in Moscow, Russia.

Weeks before being shot dead, he announced “I am afraid Putin will kill me” but Vladimir Putin has condemned his death and reported that he personally will be taking control over the investigation into Boris’ death. However, the opposition politician was not afraid to express his dislike for the current President stating that he believes Putin is “the one who unleashed the war in the Ukraine” and that he “couldn’t dislike him more”.

Many investigators, including Putin himself, have stated that the murder could be a provocation aimed at destabilising the country. The Ukrainian President described Boris Nemstov as being a bridge between Russia and Ukraine. Boris had been planning a march in Russia this Sunday as a public protest against Russia’s role in the Ukrainian crisis and the annexation of Crimea by Russia. However, the march turned into a parade of mourning supporters.

Putin supporters have described Boris as an “anti-Putin activist”, “a kremlin critic” and “a traitor serving the interests of the hostile west”. It is believed that his killing came shortly after his radio interview where he described Vladimir Putins’ actions in the Ukraine as “mad” and “an aggressive policy”.

Some opposition politicians began blaming the Kremlin directly and others expressed their concerns of the fact that Putin would be directing the investigation of Nemstovs’ murder. Many blamed Russia’s society and moral decline describing Russia as an environment where Putin demands total loyalty and control with supporters who will go to great lengths to back him and his ideas.

“The only way to end this is to find a way for Europe to co-exist with Russia…”

The Russian Investigative Committee who are the leading investigative body released one of the more recent statements regarding the inquiry into Nemstovs’ death announcing that it will be looking into the possibilities of an attack by Islamic fundamentalists or other extremist elements involved in the Ukraine war. Not surprisingly, friends and allies of Mr. Nemstov have expressed outrage claiming that this investigation ignores the most likely theory: Boris Nestov was murdered for his controversial verbal attacks on Putin.

Putin’s policies and Russia itself have recently been described as a “growing concern” for the west, in particular the UK. This followed the sighting of two Russian bear bomber planes off the Cornish coast several weeks ago. David Cameron described the sighting as “Moscow trying to make a point” but went on to say that the best outcome would be to not give Putin as well as Russia a response. Since this, efforts to negotiate peace have not succeeded and diplomats warned that the west should stand up to Russia over the Ukraine or it could result in a major war for the first time since 1945.

More recently, an ex-Mi6 chief has spoken of the growing fears the UK indirectly faces against Russia and believes that the situation should be addressed by increased dialogue and not a nuclear war, which would be a repeat of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. The Ukraine has also been described as a symptom and not the real problem Russia has with Europe. The real problem the west faces is learning to live with a Russia that feels extremely exposed and has a leader who believes his own security is at stake. The only way to end this is to find a way for Europe to co-exist with Russia, but this has proven to be much harder than anticipated for the leaders of many European countries and their concerns are growing as time is running out.

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