NEWSWATCH The Guardian: How Nemtsov’s murder could force Putin into a big decision

Boris Nemtsov file photo

[“How Nemtsov’s murder could force Putin into a big decision: A month after the politician’s killing in Moscow there are signs of a Kremlin power struggle – and Russia’s president may soon have to take sides” – The Guardian – Shaun Walker in Moscow – March 29, 2015]

The Guardian covers the aftermath of the Moscow assassination of former Deputy Prime Minister and opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. Some argue that a power struggle among Russia’s elite has been unfolding relating to the assassination.

When Boris Nemtsov was shot dead …Russia’s beleaguered liberal opposition realised the rules of the game had changed in the most shocking way.
But there are also signs the highest-profile contract killing … could have triggered a battle inside Russia’s power structures, the consequences of which could reach far wider … and be much harder for Putin to control. * * * … decoding the signals coming from the Kremlin and those around it, the outline of a conflict between influential members of Putin’s security apparatus is emerging.

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

Since the arrest of suspects, speculation has swirled around Chechnya and Putin-backed Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov.

For many, the picture was clear: powerful people were trying to pursue Kadyrov over the murder, and Putin was telling them he still backed his Chechen protege.
‘People in Moscow have never liked Kadyrov; he has always ruled only with Putin’s personal backing,’ said one former Kremlin insider. …

Theories abound, including speculation about a Chechen connection.

Many of Nemtsov’s allies believe the Kremlin was directly involved in the death of their friend and colleague. His associate Ilya Yashin said Kadyrov was likely to have been involved in the murder, and the investigation had revealed that Chechnya remained out of federal control. It has been reported in recent days that Dadayev’s close associate Ruslan Geremeyev is holed up under guard in Chechnya and is inaccessible to investigators trying to question him.

A suspect who confessed later asserted that he had been tortured.

Even parsing the leaks given about leads is said to suggest rival government factions jockeying for position.

Piecing together the thinking in the investigation team requires reliance on a number of anonymous leaks … taken together, they give the picture of a behind-the-scenes struggle between parts of the government that may have interests in pursuing different ‘versions’.

* * * ‘Of course there is rivalry between different groups, and I am sure that some of the flaws in handling the case will be exploited by those trying to gain points, but I don’t believe that it was done on someone’s own initiative,’ said Vladimir Milov, who co-authored reports with Nemtsov about corruption in the elites. ‘This is a highly centralised system based on loyalty.’ …

click here for “How Nemtsov’s murder could force Putin into a big decision: A month after the politician’s killing in Moscow there are signs of a Kremlin power struggle – and Russia’s president may soon have to take sides”