Who was Boris Nemtsov, Kremlin critic slain five years ago?
Saturday, February 29, 2020       12:10 WIB

Moscow, Feb 29, 2020 (AFP)
Five years after Boris Nemtsov was gunned down in the heart of Moscow, the failure to secure justice for the Kremlin critic has become a rallying cause for opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While a court in 2017 convicted five over his February 27, 2015 murder, demonstrators are expected to mass in the capital for an anniversary march Saturday demanding not only that the mastermind be brought to justice, but also that Putin does not cling to power.
The rally will be the first big opposition action since Putin in January announced constitutional changes that opponents fear could keep him power, even after his term ends in 2024.
- Charismatic reformer -
Born in Sochi in 1959, Nemtsov studied physics before rising to political stardom in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
He was the charismatic and liberal governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region outside Moscow from 1991, from where President Boris Yeltsin selected him to become first deputy prime minister in 1997.
To many, the move signalled Nemtsov was being prepared to one day succeed Yeltsin as president. However he left government in 1998 as Russia was plunged into chaos by the devastating economic crisis.
After Putin took power, Nemtsov became a loud Kremlin critic and prominent leader of Russia's embattled liberal opposition which found itself increasingly sidelined.
He produced studies alleging corruption at the highest levels in the Russian elite. Ahead of his murder, supporters said he was preparing a report proving that Russian troops were fighting alongside separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The day he was killed, Nemtsov had called on Russians to protest Putin's handling of the economy and the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
- Killed near Kremlin -
Nemtsov, 55, was shot four times as he crossed a bridge a stone's throw from the Kremlin.
The only witness to the killing, Nemtsov's Ukranian girlfriend Anna Duritskaya, said she could not identify the killer or the model of the getaway vehicle.
Putin said the killing was a "disgrace" and vowed in a letter to Nemtsov's mother that the killers would be brought to justice.
But officials in Moscow were criticised for failing to release security camera footage from the scene, fuelling speculation of a Kremlin cover-up.
In 2017, a court found a former security forces officer from Chechnya guilty of the murder and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. The court ruled that Zaur Dadayev fired the fatal shots after being paid 15 million rubles ($253,000).
Four other men from the North Caucasus were convicted for their role, but Nemtsov's family and allies insisted the authorities failed to bring the masterminds of the killing to justice.
They criticised investigators for not studying ties between Dadayev and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, accused by rights activists of bearing responsibility for other murders including that of veteran journalist Anna Politkovskaya and rights activist Natalya Estemirova.
- Keeping memory alive -
A clutch of Nemtsov's devoted supporters have held an unbroken vigil on the spot where he was killed ever since, with at least one person always guarding flowers and portraits, which the Moscow municipality tries to clear regularly.
Russian officials have deflected calls to install a commemorative plaque to the slain politician on the bridge where he was shot.
However, lawmakers in Western capitals have taken up the mantle, renaming streets and squares after Nemtsov.
This month, the mayor of Prague denied he was trolling Moscow by renaming the square around the Russian Embassy after the slain politician.
In February 2018, the Kremlin lashed out after US lawmakers renamed the street outside the Russian Embassy in Washington after Nemtsov.

Sumber : AFP