Close associates of slain anti-Putin figure Boris Nemtsov say their friend was gathering evidence to prove the Kremlin was lying about its role in Ukraine. Now they want to publish his findings.
Before he was gunned down in Moscow, Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov was working on a report that aimed to shed light on "the lies" of President Vladimir Putin, some of his associates have said to the media. Now, those same colleagues from the opposition movement Solidarnost want to publish Nemtsov's findings.
Ilya Yashin (pictured above), one of the co-founders of Solidarnost, told Reuters news agency that the 55-year-old former deputy prime minister had gathered a number of documents and clues to prove that the Russian army was active in the Ukraine crisis, despite the Kremlin's repeated statements to the contrary.
Another trusted associate of Nemtsov, Olga Shorina, told Reuters that the outspoken Putin-critic had given her a hastily handwritten note the day before his death, which read "paratroopers from Ivanovo have contacted me," referring to a city 158 miles (254 kilometers) from Moscow, which is home to one of the largest military airlift bases in Russia.
Shorina said that Nemtsov suspected that intelligence services had bugged his office. "He didn't want to say it out loud, that's why he wrote it down for me," the Solidarnost spokeswoman said.
'Putin and the war'
Nemtsov's colleagues said most of what he had gathered was publicly available, but to their knowledge he had never written anything but a table of contents. He also dictated his accounts from memory. Shorina and Yashin hope to put his reports together and publish them next month. According to Yashin, the body of information will be called "Putin and the war."
Boris Nemtsov had planned to travel to Ivanovo to meet with the parents of soldiers who had been killed in Ukraine, Yashin said.
Vladimir Putin called the death of his high-profile critic a tragedy and promised to personally oversee an investigation into the incident. The assassins remain unknown, something Yashin and Shorina view skeptically, asking why the police took so long to get to the location near the Kremlin, and how someone could fire six shots and get away in such a heavily-monitored area.
"Someone was afraid of [his report]. They killed him," said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko shortly after the murder.
The sole witness to the crime was Ukrainian model Anna Duritskaya, who was walking with him that night. Authorities in Ukraine she is being provided with protection after receiving death threats since returning to Kyiv. Duritskaya was detained by Russian police for several days of questioning before she was permitted to leave the country.
es/gsw (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)