Mourning over death of Kremlin critic Nemtsov

Following the murder of Boris Nemtsov tens of thousands took part in a march in memory of the Russian opposition politician in Moscow on Sunday. The Kremlin critic was shot dead in the centre of Moscow on Friday. Commentators write that Putin is morally responsible for Nemtsov's murder and see hopes of a democratic future for Russia fading.

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Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Killing buries opposition's hopes

The last hopes for change in Russia have died along with Boris Nemtsov, the left-liberal daily Tages-Anzeiger writes commenting on Sunday's rally: "The demonstrators didn't want to be intimidated by the mind control of the Putin regime. But their chants proposed no solutions or demands. Rather, the march had an air of overwhelming sadness to it. Not only because it was a commemoration march for Nemtsov, but also because many demonstrators have had to bury their hopes that Russia would change somewhat for the better in the years to come. Many elderly people were among the demonstrators, people who after the fall of the Soviet Union believed that Russia was facing a new, free and more democratic future. For them, the once aspiring young politician Nemtsov was a beacon of hope until the end. His death now confirms what they've known for a long time: there is no alternative for Russia."

Polityka (PL) /

Putin morally responsible

Russian President Vladimir Putin may not have ordered Nemtsov's murder but he bears moral responsibility for it because a human life means nothing to him, Adam Szostkiewicz writes in the left-liberal portal Polityka Online: "Putin's command echelon has ignored the statements made by Western politicians and media about the crime. And the majority of Russians who support Putin have heard nothing about them because they don't speak any Western languages. Moreover they're not interested in what people in the West believe. They live in their Russian world and aren't scared by any crimes - like Putin himself. ... I don't believe that the Kremlin directly ordered Nemtsov's execution. But Putin's style of ruling has created the climate that makes a crime like this possible."

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Russians should follow Nemtsov's example

Placards with the words "Je suis Boris - we are all Nemtsov" have been placed at the scene of the crime in Moscow. But there is little evidence of this in today's Russia, the conservative daily Lidové noviny writes: "This statement is a huge exaggeration. If every Russian were indeed a Boris Nemtsov the country would be very different from what it is now. Because then the Russians would have to start thinking about how to change the country. They would have to reflect on the roots of the current crisis - on the sanctions, the capital flights and on 'Putin's senseless aggression against Ukraine'. That was how Nemtsov put it in his last interview a few hours before he was murdered. In Russia not very many people agree with this view, never mind everybody."

The Sunday Times (GB) /

Light may never be shed on the murder

Like the murders of other Russian critics of the Kremlin the killing of Boris Nemtsov will never be solved, the conservative Sunday Times fears: "President Putin has said he will take personal control of the investigation into the murder of one of his bravest and most persuasive political enemies, which is like putting a fox in charge of the chicken coop. The head of the country's investigations committee is already steering the inquiry away from any Kremlin involvement by saying the motive may have been to destabilise Russia. Mr Nemtsov was the kind of politician Russia needed, and still needs. ... Mr Nemtsov is dead; a brave man who deserved better. We may never know who pulled the trigger."

Der Standard (AT) /

Kremlin turns on the propaganda machine

With its propaganda machinery the Kremlin is purposely distorting the background to the murder of Boris Nemtsov, the left-liberal daily Der Standard writes: "A large-scale disinformation campaign that includes the activation of hundreds of Twitter accounts programmed to repeat the same two sentences: 'Nemtsov was killed by the Ukrainians. He reportedly stole a Ukrainian guy's girlfriend.' As absurd as that may sound, the goal is not plausibility. As insiders revealed even before the Ukraine crisis started, the Kremlin's media strategy is to create a climate in which no one believes anything any more, in which people think anything is possible and are therefore open to crazy conspiracy theories, not just in Russia but also in the West."