Murder at the Red Square

Maria Rovito
Managing Editor

If the public could take their eyes off that dress going viral across the Internet, they could see that injustice and terror are still major concerns for the world in 2015.

On Friday in Moscow, Boris Nemtsov, perhaps the most outspoken critic of current Russian President Vladimir Putin, was brutally murdered outside the Kremlin and Red Square.

A crowd carries a banner of opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov, who was murdered outside the Kremlin on Friday. The banner reads "Heroes never die!" (Photo courtesy of mashable.com).
A crowd carries a banner of opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov, who was murdered outside the Kremlin on Friday. The banner reads “Heroes never die!” (Photo courtesy of mashable.com).

The gangland-style murder seemed like something from the bygone, lawless Moscow of old, when ‘biznesmeny’ dropped like flies in the no-holds-barred scramble for Russia’s post-Soviet riches. Unknown men drew up in a car, shot him in the back four times, and escaped. Camera operators and photographers gathered around his body as it lay for two hours on a bridge just behind the Kremlin, with the onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral in the background.

It remains a shocking incident all over the world, as many are asking why. Was it Putin, as his critics allege, via someone acting on his behalf? Or as others have suggested, was it nationalists who believed Nemtsov, as a Putin critic, was a traitor? And if so, was killing him the best way to manage the problem?

A killing like this wouldn’t be the first in a country that is no stranger to violence and intimidation in pursuit of political goals.

Nemtsov  meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in July 2000. (Photo courtesy of theguardian.com).
Nemtsov meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in July 2000. (Photo courtesy of theguardian.com).

We all know that Putin is not too keen on the right to freedom of speech: the band Pussy Riot was arrested and put in prison in 2012 for asking the Virgin Mary to “drive Putin away” from Russia. The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, provided a platform for the opposition of Putin’s anti-LGBT regime, giving many voices in Russia a place to be heard globally. Now, with the public murder of a major opposition to Putin, even more chaos is being created for the country.

Nemtsov, however, might have obtained proof that Putin was, in fact, sending armed forces to the Ukraine, and Putin has been trying very hard to keep Russian involvement in the East of Ukraine a secret. The benefit of Nemtsov’s death, to Putin, would be very obvious.

As citizens of the free world, it is the responsibility of the people to ensure that basic human rights, such as freedom of speech, are upheld where these rights are being threatened. Forever silencing a member of the opposition creates fear for the Russian people, and creates an extremely tense atmosphere where paranoia is omnipotent.

Nemtsov’s final tweet is an eerie echo reaching all corners of the globe: “I am not afraid.”