Two patsies arrested in Nemtsov murder

Vladimir Putin's government has reached out to a familiar region of Russia to snatch two patsies they can charge with the killing of Boris Nemtsov. The two "suspects" are from the Caucuses - a region from which the Kremlin has plucked other patsies in high profile murders of Putin political opponents. The Caucuses harbor several terrorist and separatist groups and over the years, Putin has found it convenient to charge residents of that region with political assassinations.


Two suspects have been detained over the killing of Boris Nemtsov, Russia's most senior security official said, a week after he was shot dead near the Kremlin in the most high-profile killing of an opposition figure in years.

Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Federal Security Service, told state television station Channel One on Saturday that the suspects were named Anzor Gubashev and Zaur Dadayev.

Bortnikov said President Vladimir Putin had been informed of the detentions and that the investigation was ongoing.

The state-run RIA news agency quoted Bortnikov as saying the two were from the Caucasus, a violent and impoverished region on Russia's southern flank.


After the arrests were announced, one of Nemtsov's closest associates said he hoped investigators were genuinely trying to solve the crime, but that it was too early to be sure.

"I want to believe that these ones are really the ones who conducted (the murder) and that once in a while law enforcement worked professionally and detained real assassins, and did not make a mistake," Ilya Yashin, the co-chairman of Nemtsov's party, told Reuters.

"The key task for investigators is to find and prosecute the ones who ordered this murder. If everything ends with the detention of scapegoats - irrespective of whether they are the real assassins or not - the practice of political assassinations will continue with no doubt," he said.

People from the North Caucasus have been named as suspects in other high-profile killings in Russia, including the 2006 murder of Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist critical of the Kremlin, and the killing in 2004 of Paul Klebnikov, a U.S. citizen and journalist with the Russian edition of Forbes magazine.

Politkovskaya's supporters say the Chechen men sentenced for her killing were just low-level foot soldiers, and that investigators failed to find out who was behind her murder - a complaint echoed in many other high-profile killings.

The separatists would be more likely to target a pro-Putin politician than a Putin opponent. But logic and reason are hardly relevant when ordinary people seem to be satisfied with official explanations.

Some have claimed that the murder of Nemtsov crosses a line and puts Russia in new political territory. Not really. The profile of the victim may be higher than some others, but Nemtsov was killed for the same reason all the others were assassinated; they opposed Vladimir Putin. That's the fact of life that all regime opponents have been living with for years.