Eric Kraus: Reflections on the murder of Boris Nemtsov

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

Subject: Reflections on the murder of Boris Nemtsov.
Date: Tue, 03 Mar 2015
From: Eric Kraus <>

Reflections on the murder of Boris Nemtsov.
By Eric Kraus

Eric became well known in global financial circles in the 90s and naughts as the author of a widely read monthly investment strategy newsletter: Truth and Beauty (…and Russian Finance), prized as much for its insights as for its wit and style. Often compared to Marc Faber, who occasionally publishes him, Eric is a descendant of the legendary Viennese satiric journalist, Karl Kraus, from whom he apparently inherited a knack for the Mot Juste. A former chief strategist for leading Russian banks, Eric is a fund manager, often from the deck of his yacht.

There is something a little too convenient for Washington in all of this.
Politically, Mr. Nemtsov was a spent force – he had a real following in the 1990s, where he was briefly a major player. Unlike Navalny, who is opportunistic, smart and frankly dangerous – Nemtsov’s following was largely limited to foreign journalists and a small group of Russian liberals.

Nemtsov was an early and quite enthusiastic supporter of Vladimir Putin, at least until the middle of the last decade when, finding himself politically marginalized, he recast himself as an opposition figure. He was wildly popular with the small, liberal Westernizing faction in Moscow, but in the minds of ordinary Russians, his name remained synonymous with the abuses and humiliations of the late 90s, when he was part of Yeltsin’s “dream team” in the runup to the 1998 financial collapse. He certainly posed no conceivable political threat to the Kremlin, and the upcoming opposition march which he was to lead was widely expect to fail, demonstrating the failure of the Russian liberal opposition to widen beyond its narrow traditional support base.

In any event, had the Kremlin wanted him out of the way there were other ways – especially in Moscow: a car crash – an (induced) heart attack – poison. Why do a public hit within sight of St. Basel’s Cathedral on Red Square – so as to provide a publicity fest for the picture editors of the hostile foreign media?

The timing is equally suspicious. Mr Putin now enjoys the sort of popularity common to wartime leaders in any country – and the opposition has repeatedly failed to raise a credible protest march – but the upcoming demonstration was to be the best shot the West had, and a failure would be an acute embarrassment.

Any political murder in Moscow will be systematically attributed to the Kremlin by the tame Western media – whether the victim it is a fierce Putin opponent (Politkovskaya) or a fervent supporter (Paul Klebnikov, Forbes). By the oddest of coincidences, several of the killings took place immediately before Mr. Putin was to address some particularly high-profile international meeting.

Those familiar with even the publicly-acknowledged history of the CIA will be remember numerous false-flag operations, but the fact that this horrific murder was clearly most beneficial to the anti-Russian factions does not, of course, prove that Washington was in any way involved. It suggests it – which is a very different matter.

There is another – less conspiratorial – theory. The Kiev regime – enthusiastically supported by Mr Nemtsov and his followers – is deeply unpopular in Russia. Live television coverage of the savage bombardment of Lugansk and Donetsk has evoked some strong passions. There is a hardline, nationalist faction, and Russia can be a violent place. It is entirely possible that someone decided to take revenge for the people of Novorossiya, answering one barbaric crime with another one, no less barbaric.

There is only one certainty: this murder will be played for all its worth by the Western press – which does not even need to bother to formally attribute it to the Kremlin, instead doing a quick montage: Red Square, Putin opponent lying dead. It’s an easy sell.

We can only hope that the murders will be found and punished – and that political violence – in Moscow as in Lugansk – will be universally condemned. RIP