Was Nemtsov really killed on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge?

06/22/2017 11:18 am ET Updated Jul 26, 2017

This is my interview with Rimma Polyak, chief editor of the “VESTNIK CIVITAS” about the murder of the opposition politician Boris Nemtsov.

Boris Nemtsov.
Photo credit by Lena Hades
Boris Nemtsov.

- Rimma, first of all, tell us about your website Vestnik CIVITAS, when it was created, by whom and how?

- I came up with the idea of Vestnik CIVITAS (full name "Vestnik of Civil Society CIVITAS") and created it in 2008. The main idea is to produce a truly independent online media with a socio-political and human rights theme. Unfortunately, complete independence also means a complete lack of funding. Therefore, all the authors of CIVITAS work as volunteers for free, and its editorial staff consists of one person - me: I combine the functions of the chief, issuer, literary and art editor, proofreader, and also don’t get payed. Nevertheless, this is not a hobby; it is a full-time job requiring professionalism. It consumes a lot of time, energy, and sometimes nerves. Especially when criminal cases are initiated upon the facts of the journalists’ publications. Unfortunately it has happened twice already. During these years CIVITAS developed its own audience and its own reputation, which I value a lot. Unfortunately our authors’ team has recently suffered an irreparable loss. Vadim Belotserkovsky, a writer, publicist, author of the theory of the "synthesis system", associate of Academician Andrey Sakharov, died in the USA from a serious disease. Vadim was the permanent author of CIVITAS from the day of its foundation and until his passing.

- Rimma, I want to talk to you about one of the most resonant criminal cases of the last decade - the Boris Nemtsov murder. Your articles, which, unfortunately, I have read just now, two years later after the incident, seem interesting and worth of attention. Recently I tried to find in the numerous publications on the subject at least one photograph of the murdered Nemtsov, where the blood can be seen and I did not find such a picture. So, I have a question: why does the Investigative Committee version of the murder seem false to you? In your opinion, was Nemtsov really killed on the Moskvoretsky Bridge?

- I will start by answering the last question: it is only known that the body of the murdered Boris Nemtsov was found next to the Kremlin on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge. All the other facts, in my opinion, should be questioned. First of all, because the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge is a specially secured facility that is completely controlled by the FSO (Federal Security Service), an extremely closed and powerful organization of the law enforcement officials who personally subordinate to President Putin. The bridge and its surroundings are literally crammed with FSO security cameras, it is constantly patrolled by FSO officers, disguised as traffic policemen, drivers and passers-by. Therefore nothing can happen on the bridge behind their backs. The absence of security camera files and FSO patrolling officers statements in the case indicate that the true picture of what happened in the evening 27/02/2015 on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge is different from the one presented by the investigation. The investigation goal, in my opinion, was not to find out who and how murdered Boris Nemtsov, but to hide the traces of this crime, with which was successfully achieved.

- What do you think about the trial and its process? Why do you think Zaur Dadaev is proclaimed as a main killer?

- The court is a continuation of the investigation, its aim is to simulate a jury trial with subsequent sentence, the decision of which will be taken (or is already taken) not in the jury-room. It completely lacks competitiveness of the parties, the judge “acts" on the side of the prosecution. But we are already accustomed to this in Russia, as far as all the resonant processes are conducted like this during Putin's reign. The most surprising thing about this court is that the victim’s lawyers “act” on the prosecution side - the family of the murdered Nemtsov, whose head is now his eldest daughter Zhanna Nemtsova, as well as his party associates and some media that are tend to be considered as independent. I think that Dadaev was proclaimed a murderer by accident, it is just his fate. In his place could be another Chechen who served in the police or in the army. Perhaps, Beslan Shavanov was initially appointed to this role, but he died during the detention, and Dadayev took his place. The rest of those sitting on the dock in this case got there because they are somehow connected with Dadaev and with each other – relatives or neighbors. The investigation needed to "build" the "criminal group", so these people were arrested and presented as accomplices of the "murderer".

- In your opinion, what will be the verdict?

- Most likely, the verdict has already been written, and its content does not depend on what is happening during the trial. The verdict is the result of bargain between Ramzan Kadyrov and Putin. Kadyrov agreed to play the role of the main villain, whose people, the so-called "kadyrovtsy", allegedly haunt the entire population of Russia and commit murders nearby the Kremlin, in front of Putin's personal guard. For this Kadyrov has already been requited a lot, for example, large oil and gas asset "Chechenneftekhimprom", which was the cause of the both Russian-Chechen wars. And I think this is not his only profit in the deal, we will hear about others later. I must say that Kadyrov takes care of Chechnya in his own way, defends its interests in the way he understands them. And those who found themselves on the dock are just wasted in this big political fraud.

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