Nemtsov’s murder – the official story: the Muslim trail

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March 9, 2015
German Aleksandrov for Rosbalt
Translated by Kristina Rus

Motive found in Nemtsov’s murder 

Former deputy commander of the battalion regiment “North,” Zaur Dadaev practically accepted the responsibility in organizing the murder of Boris Nemtsov. According to him, the crime was committed due to repeated negative statements of the politician about Muslims and their religion. The other four of those arrested were involved in the operation, because they lived in Moscow region and knew the city. Seems like no other “organizers” will be found.

The motive 

At the hearings in the Basmanny court on the selection of the measure of punishment, Zaur Dudaev was declared unemployed. According to “Rosbalt”, at the time of the arrest, he was no longer a member of battalion “North”. His relatives had hired a lawyer for Dudaev, but before his transfer from Ingushetia, where he was detained, Zaur refused the defender. After which he made a confession. According to the source of “Rosbalt” in law enforcement, Dadaev stated that in January 2015 he learned that Boris Nemtsov repeatedly made negative remarks about Muslims residing on the territory of Russia, about prophet Muhammad, as well as the Islam religion itself. Being a strong believer, Zaur could not tolerate it.

The investigators will not have a problem with the evidence of such a motive.  In 2007 Boris Nemtsov gave an interview to the magazine “Expert”, in which he stated that all the measures of President Vladimir Putin are aimed at increasing the birth rate, primarily in the regions populated by Muslims, and it is “extremely dangerous for the future of Russia”. After that Nemtsov was accused by well-known representatives of the Muslim world of Islamophobia. In January 2015, the year after the execution of cartoonists from the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, the politician in his blog on the website of “Echo of Moscow” had justified the actions of the cartoonists, and wrote that “Islam is stuck in the middle ages”, and called recent events the “Islamic Inquisition”. A few days later, Nemtsov said that “Everyone is tired of Kadyrov’s threats”, and “it is time to arrest him”. This happened after the head of Chechnya said very unflattering things about the opposition leader Mikhail Khodorkovsky and journalist Alexey Venediktov because of their support for the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo.

“In fact, Dadaev confessed to this crime,” – said the source of “Rosbalt”. Therefore, we should not expect any high-profile revelations or arrests as part of the investigation”.

Ramzan Kadyrov on the evening of March 8 commented on his page in social networks, where, in fact, he confirmed the version of Dadaev: Nemtsov could be killed because of careless statements about Muslims.

The head of Chechnya stated that if Dadaev killed a man, then he “has committed a serious crime”. However, he noted that Dadaev “was incapable of taking a step against Russia, for which he risked his own life”. Another alleged participant in the murder of Boris Nemtsov, Beslan Shavanov, was described by Kadyrov as a “brave warrior”. The head of Chechnya said that he personally knew Zaur “as a true patriot.” Previously Kadyrov has repeatedly presented Dudaev with awards for participation in various operations, including the order of Courage.

“Zaur was one of the most fearless and courageous soldiers of the regiment. He especially distinguished himself in a battle near Benoy, when he carried out a special operation against a large gang of terrorists. Awarded with the order of Courage, medals “For courage”, “For service for the Chechen Republic” and a letter of gratitude from the Head of the Chechen Republic etc. I firmly believe that he is sincerely devoted to Russia, was ready to give life for the Motherland. I do not understand the real causes and motives for dismissal of Zaur from the ranks of the Interior Ministry of Russia. They say it was due to the illness of his mother. The media reported that Zaur confirmed his involvement in the murder of Boris Nemtsov in court. Everyone who knows Zaur, claim that he is a deeply religious person, and that he, like all Muslims was appalled by the actions of Charlie Hebdo and the comments in support of the cartoons,” – said Ramzan Kadyrov. 

So far the investigation have built the following picture of the crime. For more than ten years Zaur Dadaev served in the special forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, in 2006 it was renamed into special battalion “North” in the name of Akhmat Kadyrov. The commander of this battalion is Alimbek Delimkhanov, the brother of Adam Delimkhanov, a State Duma Deputy and “named” brother of Ramzan Kadyrov.

Once in the circle of close friends, in particular – another former Chechen strongman Beslan Shavanov, Zaur Dadaev decided that Boris Nemtsov offended Muslims, and out of a false sense of patriotism and defense of religion decided to punish the politician. For these purposes, Dadaev involved his two nephews – Zaur and Shadid Gubashev, who for more than ten years lived in the Odintsovo district of Moscow region, worked in the capital and knew the city well. They pursued Tamerlane Exerkhanov and Khamzat Bahaev, who also lived in the Moscow suburbs next door to Gubashev’s and were familiar with them.

They tried to establish surveillance of the politician, but without much success: he often left Moscow. Then the attackers began “monitoring” the Internet in search of the events with Nemtsov’s participation. On February 27, at 20:00 the politician was supposed to be on the radio station “Echo of Moscow”. The program with his participation was announced. The killers learned about it from the media. At least, studying the video surveillance footage, investigators found that Nemtsov was followed from the building of the radio station on the New Arbat in an unknown car.

After the appearance on the radio, Boris Nemtsov, went to GUM, where he was expected by his friend, the Ukrainian model Anna Duritskaya. Together they had supper in the cafe of the department store, and then went for a walk towards the apartment of Boris Nemtsov, located in the area of Bolshaya Ordynka. The path of Boris and Anna ran through the Moskvoretsky bridge, the killers decided that this is the right place for crime.

How the murder was uncovered

As explained by the source of “Rosbalt” in law enforcement, after finding the vehicle of Nemtsov’s killers, the detectives have traced its route through the records from surveillance cameras. As a result the car was discovered. And then a video of the occupants of the car was found. As previously reported by Rosbalt, when zooming in, it became clear that the attackers were from the North Caucasus. At the same time the detectives found what SIM cards were used by the attackers. They were listed under other names, and only were discovered at the time of Nemtsov’s shooting. However, it was established were these SIM cards were acquired by the criminals: they were the residents of Ingushetia. Further specific identities of the attackers were established.

However, by this time the main defendants in the investigation already left Moscow. They hid in Ingushetia. Dadaev was detained in the Republic on March 6, Gubashev’s – a day later. On March 8 in the Moscow region law enforcement officials handcuffed Bagaev and Eskerhanov. On the same day, a group of investigators from Moscow tried to arrest Shavanov in Grozny, when he used a grenade, and was killed during the explosion.

KR: It is clear that everyone used Nemtsov’s murder to score points for their own agenda, including in Russia and in the West. It is quite possible that the religious motive is a cover to close the investigation. It is quite possible that we will never learn the truth. But the official version also has a right to exist and is plausible in itself. If it was true, then the “atmosphere of hate and intolerance,” for which Putin is blamed by the West, was perpetuated by Nemtsov, as well as most Russian anti-Putin liberal opposition on the cues of the West.


In this case further tension in Russia and Chechnya has been achieved.


PS The official story is also consistent with elements of unprofessionalism and the fact that Nemtsov’s companion was left alive (she did not offend any Muslims)

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