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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russia Update: March 1

Publication: Russia Update
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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Surprise - the US Government, a Non-Violent Resistance Group, a Ukrainian Ultranationalist, and a Chechen Were Plotting to Kill Nemtsov

As if on cue, articles have appeared on a Russian news site tying together the US government, the most notorious Ukrainian ultranationalist, an anti-Milosevich Serbian group and a Chechen -- in a plot to kill Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

Why any of these entities critical of the Kremlin would supposedly be motivated to kill Nemtsov, also a major critic remains a mystery.

The articles (here and here) published on a fairly obscure site called (which means "There is No Justice") claim to shed light on a shooting in Moscow  February 28 that is supposedly related to the assassination of Boris Nemtsov.

The story has not appeared in any other Russian-language media in Russia or Ukraine. We have no confirmation of its authenticity.

In the strange world that is the Russian media space, the fact that the story hasn't appeared on the notorious LifeNews or TV1 channels, known for their disinformation, has curiously given it credibility for some on social media.

With the headline "Main Thread to the Contractors of Nemtsov Murder Broken," the site reports that on February 28 in Klyonovskoye Troitstkogo, a suburb of Moscow, detectives found the body of Aslan Alkhanov with an apparent self-inflicted gun-shot wound and declared it a suicide:

Alkhanov was the main suspect in the organization of the murder of Boris Nemtsov. Investigators said they had no reason to suspect murder.

Now, despite the fact that the crime was solved almost hot on the trail and its direct contractors were known, the judicial prospects for the case will be doubtful.

If we leave aside the question of contractors who, as a rule in these cases, are not found, then regarding the punishment of the murderers who remain alive, at any rate, the president of Ukraine could punish the middlemen in the contract of the murder. If he wants. Although even in this case he will hardly be able to.

This is a question of the closest comrade-at-arms of the deputy head of the Committee for Issues of National Security and Defense of Ukraine, and such a figure is over the head of Petro Alekseyevich [Poroshenko]. It remains just to write on Twitter. And not believe.

Yarosh is the deputy head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee for Issues of National Security and Defense.

The implication is that Poroshenko, though he is president of Ukraine, will somehow be unable to deal with the head of Right Sector -- whose party did not get into parliament because its candidates did not meet the 5% threshold in the elections. Yarosh was elected in a single-mandate district.

This article follows a previous one published February 28, "Victims of Naivete," responding to the February 10 Sobesednik article headlined "Boris Nemtsov: I'm Afraid That Putin Will Kill Me" - which in fact involves the editors putting words in Nemtsov's mouth as he didn't say this, but only said his mother had this fear.

The earlier article claims that Alkhanov met with Dmitro Yarosh and contends that Yarosh, like Aleksander Kazun, said to be the organizer of the bombing of the Maidan rally in Kharkov, was a member of CANVAS, an NGO funded by the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy by members of Otpor, the group associated with "the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevich". Yarosh was said to work in CANVAS before joining Right Sector, says -- echoing the conspiracy theory of pro-Kremlin site

There was no confirmation of Yarosh's involvement in CANVAS.

Alkhanov then traveled to Moscow mid-week, and several days later, Nemtsov was killed, and his Ukrainian companion "by strange coincidence" was not harmed.

"On February 10, Boris Nemtsov signed his death warrant, and his murder was only a question of a short time," says, referring to the date of his Sobosednik interview. Sources told that Alkhanov's meeting was recorded by Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service and his arrival in Moscow was recorded by the FSB.

Pravosudija complained that Alkhanov was not being searched for by police, the "American footprint is being ignored":

The victim of such a murder could claim the Darwin prize, but Nemtsov's behavior is at least explainable; he could not help but know that his miscalculation would be cynically exploited by his American friends. Are our intelligence services so naive?

We couldn't find any further information about Alkhanov or confirm that a man by such a name died. There are numerous social media accounts under this name, nearly all of them started and not filled.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Nemtsov's Murder Assigned to Special Investigator Known for Solving Ultranationalist Crimes

According to a report by, the group investigating the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov on February 27 is headed by Maj. Gen. Igor Krasnov, a senior special cases investigator known for his past work on the cases of ultranationalists, including in the group BORN [Battle Organization of Russian Nationalists] some of whose members have been convicted of murdering a number of people associated with opposing hate crimes including anti-fascist activists and a judge.

That suggests that the Kremlin is moving in the direction of fingering extremists in the ultranationalist movements, which at first were encouraged by Russia's forcible annexation of the Crimea, then reined in by Putin in some cases when intellectuals began to complain about their incitement of violence against Ukrainians.

Vadim Prokhorov, lawyer for Anna Duritskaya, Nemtsov's companion with him when he was killed, confirmed that Krasnov was assigned the case.

Krasnov has under him 12 investigators who are checking surveillance cameras, mobile telephone bills, routes of movement and Nemtsov's contacts in the last month, says

Krasnov led the investigation of Ivan Mironov, the nationalist accused of planning an attack on Anatoly Chubais, head of Unified Energy System (RAO UES) in 2006, who was later acquitted in 2010. Vladimir Kvachkov, a retired GRU colonel, was also charged in that attempt. Both were found not guilty by a jury; Kvachkov was later convicted in another case.

He also led the case of the murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and Anastasiya Baburova, who were murdered in 2009 by BORN activists, and successfully prosecuted Nikitia Tikhonov and Yevgeniya Khasis for the murder. Even after their arrest, other BORN members committed the murder of federal judge Eduward Chuvashov, for which other defendants are now awaiting a verdict. One BORN member died in 2011 from a grenade explosion after fleeing to Ukraine. Another, Aleksandr Parinov, is also hiding in Ukraine and is on the police wanted list.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
What Did the Video Cameras Closer to the Scene of Nemtsov's Murder See?

A video recording of the scene of the assassination of Boris Nemtsov has been studied closely for clues to his death, and has led some to conclude that the presence of a city street-cleaning machine stopping on the bridge before he was shot could indicate some kind of government involvement in his death.

The vehicle appears to block the camera's view, and also someone seems to jump off the back of it who may have been the perpetrator (see Theories about Possible Perpetrators of the Murder of Boris Nemtsov).

But this camera, set far back from the scene, is not the only camera trained on this site, which falls within the special zone of protection of the FSO (Federal Protective Service), something like the US Secret Service, which protests the president, his residence, and office, which includes the whole Kremlin area.

This area has always been under heightened security; Nemtsov himself wrote of this zone on his Facebook page not long before his death when he was defending a solo picketer who was arrested within this area.

Now a Russian blogger has posted a picture showing the security cameras on poles in the area that open up the question of what other security tapes might exist.

Translation: everybody probably already saw this photo. You can make out faces from these cameras. And they're showing us [footage] from a camera from outer space.

Label on picture: Five cameras on the post; two.

His reference is to the distance of the cameras that recorded the scene.

As he points out, there are five cameras on the lamp post right near the scene of the crime, and two on the post across the street.

The circumstances are not known under which the first video footage wsa leaked from further back from the bridge, and interestingly, it is not LifeNews, the "tabloid TV" close to intelligence which usually gets a hold of such sensational material.

Instead, the video was uploaded to YouTube by TV Tsentr, which is the city of Moscow's TV station.

No doubt police have retrieved the film from the cameras right on the bridge. There have also been calls from the opposition to anyone who was driving in the area that night to examine their dashcam footage; many Russians install dashboard cameras in their cars because of the prevalence of traffic accidents, to use in lawsuits.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Woman Who Witnessed Nemtsov Murder Reportedly Not Being Allowed To Return to Ukraine
Kyiv Post is reporting that the woman who was with Boris Nemtsov when he was assassinated, Ukrainian model Anna Duritska, is not being allowed to return to Ukraine:

Kyiv Post reports

Moscow lawyer Vadim Prokhorov who had worked for Nemtsov, said he was asked by the Nemtsov family to represent Duritska. According to him, the woman has addressed the Ukrainian consul in Moscow, asking to help her return to Kyiv.

According to Prokhorov, Duritska stays in an apartment of an ally of Nemtsov. She is not officially detained, but is not allowed to leave.

“She voluntarily participates in all the procedures of the investigation," Prokhorov told RIA Novosti on March 1.

At the same time, he emphasized that authorities violate the rights of Duritska when they force her to stay in Russia with no legal basis.

According to Interfax Ukraine news agency, Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a diplomatic note to the corresponding Russian ministry, asking to help Duritska get back to Ukraine. The Ukraine's ministry spokesman said that Duritska wasn't under arrest, but is guarded.

-- James Miller

The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Ukrainian MP Arrested In Moscow Could Face Charges Related to Deaths of Pro-Russians In Odessa

Interfax provides more details (translated by The Interpreter) on the arrest of Ukrainin MP Alexander Goncharenko, who attended today's memorial rally for assassinated Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov:

Alexander Goncharenko, a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada or Ukrainian parliament from the Petro Poroshenko bloc was detained today at the funeral march for Boris Nemtsov, Interfax reported.

The Moscow Interior Ministry confirmed to Interfax that he was detained.

"He will be transferred to reprsentatives of the Russian Investigative Committee for further processing," said an official.

A source familiar with the situation says that Goncharenko may become a suspect in a criminal case opened by Russia into the events in Odessa on May 2, 2014.

Goncharekno confirmed the information in a post to his blog at the Ukrainska Pravda web site.

I was detained by police. I was taken to a van and my passport wsa taken. Then they returned my passport and took me out of the ban and struck me. Now they are holding me near the van and not letting me go. I did not chant anything, I did not carry any posters or flags, I was detained simply for my t-shirt.

A photo he posted from the march shows him dressed in jeans, jacket and a white t-shirt on which is printed the slogan "Heroes Don't Die" in the Ukrainian language.

Earlier Goncharenko had written on his Facebook that he had traveled to Moscow for the march in memory of Nemtsov.

According to media reports, after the Odessa tragedy, Goncharenko, who was a local deputy at the time, posted photographs of himself with burning bodies from the Trade Union building in the background. And in a program on Shuster Live, on Ukrainian television, he said he approved of the "clean-up" of the tent camp of the "anti-Maidan" activists at Kulikovo Pole Square, Interfax reported.

This picture shows Gonchatenko at today's rally wearing a shirt with Boris Nemtsov's face on it that reads "Heroes Don't Die":


And this was taken after his arrest:

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, James Miller