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Nemtsov's death heralds darker era in Russia

Monday, March 2, 2015

Significance

Nemtsov was killed on February 27 by several shots fired from a passing car, on Moscow's Bolshoi Mosvoretsky Bridge near the Kremlin. He had been due to take part in the opposition 'Spring anti-crisis march' in Moscow's suburbs on March 1. This was cancelled following the killing and the Moscow authorities allowed a march through the centre in Nemtsov's memory. Russia's opposition is weak and has had little success against President Vladimir Putin, since the winter of 2011-12 when large crowds gave Putin his first genuine challenge.

Impacts

  • Nemtsov's death will have little impact in the regions where Putin gains most of his support.
  • The murder was probably committed by nationalists increasingly angry with Nemtsov's anti-authority line.
  • The state media will go into overdrive to protect Putin and prevent widespread backlash.
  • The killing says more about the strength of nationalist feeling than it does about the opposition.
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