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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Boris Nemtsov, tué par balles en plein centre de Moscou

by Eugénie Barbezat avec AFP

Boris Nemtsov shot dead in the centre of Moscow

Translated Wednesday 4 March 2015, by AMM

The Russian opposition politician was killed after being shot four times in the middle of the street on Friday night. The attack has been condemned by President Putin who described it as a "provocation". A march in his memory was organised on Sunday in Moscow.

Boris Nemtsov was killed on Friday 27 February in central Moscow. One of the leading opposition politicians, who had served as deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltsin, he was also the organiser of peaceful marches against the war in Ukraine. In September, he co-organised the "Peace March", the first big peaceful campaign in Russia since the beginning of the conflict with Ukraine and one of the most important protests for several months in the Russian capital, due to take place on Sunday and in which he was to participate.

Boris Nemtsov was walking with a young Ukrainian woman along the Bolshoi Moskvoretsky bridge, when "a car drove up [and] a passenger then shot at him, with four shots hitting him in the back and causing his death", spokeswoman for the Russian Interior Ministry, Elena Alexeeva, told television channel Russia 24. One journalist at the scene reports that Boris Netsov was killed about 200 metres from the Kremlin, the official residence of the Russian president.

The president quickly condemned the murder. "Putin noted that this brutal murder has all the makings of a contract killing and was 100% a provocation", stated his spokesperson, adding that the President had asked Russia’s Investigative Committee, the Interior Ministry and the FSB to investigate the murder.

Several observers have dismissed Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in this murder. "The Presidency has no interest in this, explains Alban Mickozy. "It completely ridicules the power because it happened in the safest and most watched place in the country." The political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky also believes that Putin had no reason to attack Boris Nemtsov whose death "will not serve the interests of the Kremlin". "But the atmosphere of hatred towards alternative thinkers which has formed over the past few months, since the annexation of Crimea, must have played a role" in the death of the Russian opposition politician, he explained to Ekho Moskvy radio.

Francois Hollande denounced an ’odious assassination" and paid tribute to Boris Nemtsov who he described as a "defender" of democracy.
A march in the centre of Moscow to pay tribute to Boris Nemtsov took place on Sunday, while the investigation to find those involved in the murder continues.

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