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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia Update: February 28, 2015

Publication: Russia Update
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Further Analysis of Videotape Reportedly Showing Scene of Boris Nemtsov's Murder

As we reported earlier, a videotape from the security camera trained on the bridge where opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was assassinated has sparked a lot of online commentary.

Questions remain about the authenticity of this tape. It was not obtained and shown by LifeNews, which has produced a number of the videotapes of Nemtsov before his murder, but by TV Tsentr (Center), the fourth largest state TV station in Russia owned by the city of Moscow.  The tapes from security cameras in the vicinity of the Kremlin would likely be carefully guarded, and it is not known how the videos were obtained or the motives for releasing them.


Here's a translation by The Interpreter of the title and note on the video:

All-weather camera records murder of Boris Nemtsov. Exclusive.

This is a video from the all-weather camera which films Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge round the clock. With an accuracy to the second, it records the crime. The quality of the footage is not high but the cars and silhouettes of the people are visible.

The first question relates to the type of vehicle seen in the video which seems to be involved in the murder because it stops just as the shooting occurs, possibly as part of a plot to block the scene from the view of cameras. It has been variously described as a "snowplow" or a "street-cleaner" and the idea that it could be a snowplow has seemed particularly suspicious to some because there was has been no snow in Moscow in the last week.

Of course, any Russian would easily explain how a snowplow could still go out on streets free of snow -- bureaucratic inertia and ineptitude could mean that the vehicle was sent out on its route anyway to "fulfill the plan."

But what's more likely is that this is a multipurpose vehicle, of the type known to operate in Moscow, such as seen in these photos in an ad for one for sale. The truck can sweep streets, spray water to clean streets, spread sand, and also plow snow.

Street-cleaner.jpg

Street-Cleaner-2.jpg

The next question then concerns whether the presence of a city-owned vehicle cleaning the street possibly involved in a murder is a marker for government involvement. While that may be the case, it's also possible that the city workers and possibly traffic police involved in stopping traffic later were bribed. This is a very common feature of Russian line and has also been a factor in past high-profile crimes.

Pavel Pryannikov, a friend of Nemtsov's and well-known blogger in Moscow, has made the following comment on the video on his Facebook page (translated by The Interpreter)

From this video we see:

1. The murderer waited for Nemtsov on the bridge. He is the one to make the shots.
2. His work was high-quality - the snow-cleaning machine blocked him from the camera.
3. Immediately after the shots were fine, a car drove up to him, and the murderer got into it. The color of the car is not white (this color has been mentioned in recent days).
4. The biggest question - two men who soon after the murder of Nemtsov ran from the bridge down the steps under the bridge, and when the first police car arrived (after about 7-8 minutes), they climbed the stairs to the site of the murder.

Pryanikov's reading of the video was echoed in the New York Times:

A snowplow blocked the scene. But the video, which has not been independently verified, appears to show the shooter was hiding on a stairway on Moskvoretsky Bridge waiting for Mr. Nemtsov and Ms. Duritskaya to pass. Later, the figure of the supposed shooter runs to a getaway car that pulls up on the bridge.

The blogger @DaveyPetros at the site Ukraine@War has analyzed the video and mapped the route of the vehicles.

First he found a good picture on Panoramio taken by Andrei S. Shulgin in 2010 that has a panoramic view of the scene. Nemtsov was killed on the Bolshoi Maloretsky [Great Moscow River] Bridge, about 30 meters from the Vasilevsky Spusk [St. Basil's Descent] that leads to St. Basil's Cathedral. The place is marked in red:

Nemstov-2.jpg

Then @DaveyPetros drew the route on Google Maps:

Nemstov-8.jpg

And also the getaway car's route:

Nemstov-3.jpg

He surmises that the killer could have ridden on the back of the cleaning vehicle or garbage truck, using the step and hand rail provided on the back of such vehicles, which would make it easier for him to jump on and off it.

Read more here.

We note that this picture taken in the past also show orange vehicles in the parking lots that could be the type of cleaning vehicle still in use today.

Trucks.jpg

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Surveillance Video Reportedly Shows Assassination of Russian Opposition Leader

Two important videos have emerged which may shed clues into how Boris Nemtsov was killed, but this first video may be the most important clue yet. The video appears to be a surveillance camera overlooking the road where Nemtsov was killed. About 20 seconds in the video slows and highlights someone, reportedly Nemtsov, on the bridge walking. Right after this the video highlights some sort of truck with blinking lights driving slowly behind him. At one point the truck blocks the camera's view of the person who is reportedly Nemtsov, and soon after it looks like someone runs out from behind the truck and gets into another car which then speeds off.

The video is grainy, but one theory is that the truck with the flashing lights may have been involved somehow in the shooting. Is the man who is seen running out from behind the truck actually the shooter? Did he jump out of the truck, kill Nemtsov, and escape in a getaway car? Is the getaway car white, like the one that authorities are looking for? This video leaves many unanswered questions, especially because it is very different than a video posted last night be LifeNews, a news agency with very close ties to the Kremlin security apparatus.

 LifeNews has also published a video, made up of several security camera angles, which reportedly show Nemtsov just moments before he was killed. 

-- James Miller
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Reports from LifeNews of Cars Found, Suspects Videotaped in Nemtsov Murder but Investigative Committee Rejects Them

In the last few hours, Russian police have been reported to find white cars said to be related to the perpetrators of the murder of Boris Nemtsov, and LifeNews has even released a video tape which it claims are the killers.

But Vladimir Markin of the Investigative Committee has refuted the claims and cautioned that media should be careful in trusting such reports.

LifeNews is a TV station specializing in crime and war coverage, close to intelligence and law-enforcement. But perhaps there are times when it is out of sync with the Investigative Committee (IC) -- or the IC does not want premature speculation.


Translation: automobile of of the killers via LifeNews. It was found in the courtryards off Smolenskaya Boulevard.

Предполагаемых убийц Бориса Немцова сняли камеры наблюдения

Двое мужчин вышли из автомобиля, на котором злоумышленники, предположительно, скрылись с места происшествия.

View full page >
Feb 28, 2015 19:25 (GMT)
Translation: two men get out of a car in which the perpetrators presumably fled from the scene of the crime.
Translation: A source at Interfax: a number of signs provide a basis for supposing that the murder of Nemtsov was committed not by professionals but by ultra-right radicals.

Translation: Markin essentially refuted the reports about the found auto. "I could ask you to be more accurate and balanced regarding such a source."

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Putin Sends Telegram of Condolences to Nemtsov's Mother


The Kremlin has posted the following copy of a telegram sent by President Vladimir Putin to  Dina Yakovlena Eydman, mother of Boris Nemtsov. The Interpreter has translated the text:

Please accept my deepest condolences in connection with your inconsolable loss. I sincerely share with you the woe which has befallen you.

Boris Nemtsov left his mark on the history of Russia, in politics and civic life. He had occasion to work in significant posts in the difficult transitional period of our country. He always directly and honestly articulated his position and defended his point of view.

Everything will be done so that the organizers and executors of this base and cynical muder will receive their deserved punishment.
"

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Chechen Leader Accuses Western Intelligence of Murdering Nemtsov

Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of the Chechen Republic issued a statement half an hour ago on Instagram. The Interpreter has a translation:

"In the center of Moscow Boris Nemtsov was killed. Only forces interested in whipping up tension could embark on such a cunning step. The organizers of the murder hoped that the whole world will accuse the leadership of Russia of the death of Nemtsov and provoke a wave of protest. There are no doubts that the murder of Nemtsov was organized by Western intelligence."

-- Catherine. A. Fitzpatrick

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