Russian Diaspora Remembers Nemtsov 1 year later

Mar 01 2016

On Saturday, Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Georgians across North America paid their respects to murdered Russian dissident Boris Nemtsov a year after his grisly assassination.

The various rallies commemorated the fact that Nemtsov was gunned down while walking on the Bolshoy Moskovoretsky bridge in Moscow. Many demonstrators brought signs that read “Nemtsov Bridge”, a clear nod to the opposition’s desire that the bridge be re-named for Nemtsov, or at the very least for a plaque remembering the assassination to be installed on the bridge.

Those who came called for an independent international investigation of the murder, but the Kremlin’s law enforcement authorities refuse to name the organizer and the hirer of a contract killer, instead casting the blame on some Ruslan Mukhutdinov, a personal driver for Ruslan Geremeev.

Geremeev, the second in command officer of the Russian internal troops squadron North, belongs to the mighty Geremeev clan and is a relative of the State Duma deputy Adam Delimkhanov and senator Suleiman Geremeev. The motive of the crime committed allegedly by Mukhutdinov and where he got 15 million rubles from remains to be explained.

In Washington, D.C., activists gathered on Arlington Memorial Bridge. They called on Congress to introduce the “Nemtsov list” submitted to the Congressional leaders last April. There are only eight names in that list, the names of those Russian propagandists who were soliciting to reprisal. The organizers believed that it would be for the benefit of the world media community to support this list, as the Russian propagandists call themselves “journalists” thus dishonoring the real ones.

There was also a proposal put forth to name the plaza opposite the Russian Embassy in Washington Nemtsov Plaza as a reminder to the Kremlin’s authorities.

One of the participants held a poster addressing drivers passing by. It said “Honk if you are for Russia without Putin”, and was well-received.

Ex-candidate for president of Belarus Andrey Sannikov, who did prison time for organizing “public disobedience”, gave a speech. (Sannikov was in Washington with a drive-by visit.) He addressed Nemtsov himself. He spoke about the common struggle for democratic ideals. “Thank you and forgive us,” said Sannikov at the end of his speech. Russian journalists Tikhon Dzyadko and Elena Racheva came to pay homage to Nemtsov.

About 70 people gathered on a main square in San Francisco and marched from there to a bridge. The same calls as in Washington were made at the rally-for an independent international investigation. Some of the participants charged straightforwardly Russian President Putin with this crime, since, as they think, he is responsible, at least, politically for aggravating enmity in Russia. The participants listened to one of Nemtsov’s speeches where he said that “Putin’s problem is that he is cruel and cynic.”

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The winner of a beauty pageant in St. Petersburg Viktoria Maladaeva, a Buryat by ethnicity, came to the march. When she won that beauty pageant a couple of years ago, she was bullied on the Internet, as she was of the “wrong” ethnicity and shared oppositional views. Nemtsov supported her on his Facebook page. “He was one of few who supported me straightforwardly, and I’m very grateful to him for that. It’s a pity I didn’t answer him on Facebook personally as I didn’t use this media much that time,” she said.

There were several rallies in New York City that day, next to the Russian Consulate-General, on the Brooklyn Bridge and in Brighton Beach. Those who came to the Consulate-General held the posters with Putin’s pictures signed “Wanted” and “Putin killed our friend”. Observing a moment of silence, the participants marched along 5 Avenue to the Russian mission to the UN.

In Seattle about 25 people gathered on a bridge. “We are outraged that this political murder has not been investigated yet, the killers have not been found and received no punishment for this offence,” Maria Paramonova said.

Similar rallies were held in Boston and Cleveland.

Russians living in Canada held an unorthodox rally. About a year ago, right after Nemtsov was murdered, his sympathizers in Vancouver planted a tree to honor him. This year they gathered near this tree. There were no political statements at the rally, as “it was to honor the people who have deep respect for Nemtsov rather than political rally.”

In Toronto, participants at the rally called for “strictness towards Putin and passing the Magnitsky act in Canada that was brought here by Nemtsov himself.”

“Here, in Canada, we must inherit Nemtsov’s helm,” Stacie Kor said.

Apart from the rally, there was an event dedicated to Nemtsov, the war between Russia and Ukraine, and the general situation in Russia organized in Toronto. The event was organized by a non-for-profit organization called Canadians for Democracy in Russia.

At the rally was a photo exhibition with photos of Nemtsov and the war in Eastern Ukraine that the murdered politician labored to stop.

The various rallies commemorated the fact that Nemtsov was gunned down while walking on the Bolshoy Moskovoretsky bridge in Moscow. Many demonstrators brought signs that read “Nemtsov Bridge”, a clear nod to the opposition’s desire that the bridge be re-named for Nemtsov, or at the very least for a plaque remembering the assassination to be installed on the bridge.

Those who came called for an independent international investigation of the murder, but the Kremlin’s law enforcement authorities refuse to name the organizer and the hirer of a contract killer, instead casting the blame on some Ruslan Mukhutdinov, a personal driver for Ruslan Geremeev.

Geremeev, the second in command officer of the Russian internal troops squadron North, belongs to the mighty Geremeev clan and is a relative of the State Duma deputy Adam Delimkhanov and senator Suleiman Geremeev. The motive of the crime committed allegedly by Mukhutdinov and where he got 15 million rubles from remains to be explained.

In Washington, D.C., activists gathered on Arlington Memorial Bridge. They called on Congress to introduce the “Nemtsov list” submitted to the Congressional leaders last April. There are only eight names in that list, the names of those Russian propagandists who were soliciting to reprisal. The organizers believed that it would be for the benefit of the world media community to support this list, as the Russian propagandists call themselves “journalists” thus dishonoring the real ones.

There was also a proposal put forth to name the plaza opposite the Russian Embassy in Washington Nemtsov Plaza as a reminder to the Kremlin’s authorities.

One of the participants held a poster addressing drivers passing by. It said “Honk if you are for Russia without Putin”, and was well-received.

Ex-candidate for president of Belarus Andrey Sannikov, who did prison time for organizing “public disobedience”, gave a speech. (Sannikov was in Washington with a drive-by visit.) He addressed Nemtsov himself. He spoke about the common struggle for democratic ideals. “Thank you and forgive us,” said Sannikov at the end of his speech. Russian journalists Tikhon Dzyadko and Elena Racheva came to pay homage to Nemtsov.

About 70 people gathered on a main square in San Francisco and marched from there to a bridge. The same calls as in Washington were made at the rally-for an independent international investigation. Some of the participants charged straightforwardly Russian President Putin with this crime, since, as they think, he is responsible, at least, politically for aggravating enmity in Russia. The participants listened to one of Nemtsov’s speeches where he said that “Putin’s problem is that he is cruel and cynic.”

12801128_10207172075234671_5137504581201655663_n

The winner of a beauty pageant in St. Petersburg Viktoria Maladaeva, a Buryat by ethnicity, came to the march. When she won that beauty pageant a couple of years ago, she was bullied on the Internet, as she was of the “wrong” ethnicity and shared oppositional views. Nemtsov supported her on his Facebook page. “He was one of few who supported me straightforwardly, and I’m very grateful to him for that. It’s a pity I didn’t answer him on Facebook personally as I didn’t use this media much that time,” she said.

There were several rallies in New York City that day, next to the Russian Consulate-General, on the Brooklyn Bridge and in Brighton Beach. Those who came to the Consulate-General held the posters with Putin’s pictures signed “Wanted” and “Putin killed our friend”. Observing a moment of silence, the participants marched along 5 Avenue to the Russian mission to the UN.

In Seattle about 25 people gathered on a bridge. “We are outraged that this political murder has not been investigated yet, the killers have not been found and received no punishment for this offence,” Maria Paramonova said.

Similar rallies were held in Boston and Cleveland.

Russians living in Canada held an unorthodox rally. About a year ago, right after Nemtsov was murdered, his sympathizers in Vancouver planted a tree to honor him. This year they gathered near this tree. There were no political statements at the rally, as “it was to honor the people who have deep respect for Nemtsov rather than political rally.”

In Toronto, participants at the rally called for “strictness towards Putin and passing the Magnitsky act in Canada that was brought here by Nemtsov himself.”

“Here, in Canada, we must inherit Nemtsov’s helm,” Stacie Kor said.

Apart from the rally, there was an event dedicated to Nemtsov, the war between Russia and Ukraine, and the general situation in Russia organized in Toronto. The event was organized by a non-for-profit organization called Canadians for Democracy in Russia.

At the rally was a photo exhibition with photos of Nemtsov and the war in Eastern Ukraine that the murdered politician labored to stop.

Free Russia Foundation Calls for Urgent and Concrete Steps to Stop Putin’s Global Assassination Campaigns

Feb 11 2021

Vladimir Kara-Murza, a prominent Russian pro-democracy advocate, was closely tracked by an FSB assassination squad when he suffered perplexing and near-fatal medical emergencies that sent him into coma in 2015 and 2017, establishes a new investigation by the Bellingcat group

Documents uncovered by Bellingcat show that this is the same assassination squad implicated in the August 2020 assassination attempt on Alexey Navalny and whose member has inadvertently confirmed the operation in a phone call with Navalny.   

Bellingcat has also established the FSB unit’s involvement in the murder of three Russian activists, all of whom died under unusual but similar circumstances. 

Taken together, these independent nongovernment investigations establish the fact of systemic, large-scale extrajudicial assassinations carried out by Putin’s government against its critics inside and outside of Russia, including with chemical weapons banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention. 

Free Russia Foundation calls on the international community to formally investigate and prosecute Putin’s government for these crimes. 

Free Russia Foundation calls on the Biden Administration to direct the FBI to release investigation materials surrounding the assassination attempts against Vladimir Kara-Murza that have been denied to him thus far. 

Free Russia Foundation calls on the international community to articulate measures to compel Russia to free Alexey Navalny from his illegal incarceration where his life remains in dire danger. 

Free Russia Foundation condemns in strongest terms today’s court sentence announced to Alexey Navalny

Feb 02 2021

Continued detention of Navalny is illegal and he must be freed immediately. Suppression of peaceful protests and mass arrests of Russian citizens must stop, and the Kremlin must release all those illegally detained and imprisoned on political motives. Free Russia Foundation calls on the international community, the US and European leadership, to move beyond expressions of concern and articulate a set of meaningful instruments to compel the Kremlin to stop its atrocities.

Free Russia Foundation demands Navalny’s immediate release

Jan 17 2021

On January 17, 2021, Putin’s agents arrested Alexey Navalny as he returned to Russia from Germany where he was treated for a near-deadly poisoning perpetrated by state-directed assassins.

Navalny’s illegal arrest constitutes kidnapping. He is kept incommunicado from his lawyer and family at an unknown location and his life is in danger.

Free Russia Foundation demands his immediate release and an international investigation of crimes committed against him by Putin’s government.

The European Court of Human Rights Recognizes Complaints on Violations in “Ukraine v. Russia” as Admissible

Jan 14 2021

On January 14, 2021, the European Court of Human Rights published its decision on the case “Ukraine v. Russia”. The Grand Chamber of the Court has recognized complaints No. 20958/14 and No. 38334/18 as partially admissible for consideration on the merits. The decision will be followed by a judgment at a later date.

The case concerns the consideration of a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights related to Russia’s systematic administrative practices in Crimea. 

The admissibility of the case is based on the fact that, since 2014, the Russian Federation has exercised effective control over the territory of Crimea, and, accordingly, is fully responsible for compliance with the norms of the European Convention on Human Rights in Crimea. The Court now needs to determine the specific circumstances of the case and establish the facts regarding violations of Articles of the Convention during two periods: from February 27, 2014 to March 18, 2014 (the period of the Russian invasion); and from March 18, 2014 onward (the period during which the Russian Federation has exercised effective control over Crimea).

The Court has established that prima facie it has sufficient evidence of systematic administrative practice concerning the following circumstances:

  • forced rendition and the lack of an effective investigation into such a practice under Article 2; 
  • cruel treatment and unlawful detention under Articles 3 and 5; 
  • extending application of Russian law into Crimea with the result that, as of  February 27, 2014, the courts in Crimea could not be considered to have been “established by law” as defined by Article 6; 
  • automatic imposition of Russian citizenship and unreasonable searches of private dwellings under Article 8; 
  • harassment and intimidation of religious leaders not conforming to the Russian Orthodox faith, arbitrary raids of places of worship and confiscation of religious property under Article 9;
  • suppression of non-Russian media under Article 10; 
  • prohibition of public gatherings and manifestations of support, as well as intimidation and arbitrary detention of organizers of demonstrations under Article 11; 
  • expropriation without compensation of property from civilians and private enterprises under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1;
  • suppression of the Ukrainian language in schools and harassment of Ukrainian-speaking children under Article 2 of Protocol No. 1; 6 
  • restricting freedom of movement between Crimea and mainland Ukraine, resulting from the de facto transformation (by Russia) of the administrative delimitation into a border (between Russia and Ukraine) under Article 2 of Protocol No. 4; and, 
  • discriminating against Crimean Tatars under Article 14, taken in conjunction with Articles 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the Convention and with Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 to the Convention.

Cases between states are the rarest category considered by the ECHR. Almost all cases considered in Strasbourg concern individuals or organizations and involve illegal actions or inaction of the states’ parties to the Convention. However, Art. 33 of this Convention provides that “any High Contracting Party may refer to the Court the question of any alleged violation of the provisions of the Convention and its Protocols by another High Contracting Party.” In the entire history of the ECHR since 1953, there have been only 27 such cases. Two of them are joint cases against Russia, both of which concern the Russian Federation’s aggression on the territory of its neighboring states, Georgia and Ukraine.

New Year’s Blessings to All

Dec 30 2020

While 2020 gave us unprecedented challenges, it created transformative changes in the way we work and communicate. The hours of Zoom calls seemingly brought us all closer together as we got a glimpse into each other’s makeshift home offices along with interruption by kids and the family pets. Remote work also made us appreciate human interactions, in-person events and trips much more!

As 2020 comes to an end, we want to especially thank our supporters who continued to believe in our mission and the value of our hard work, and we hope the coming year brings all of us progress and growth for democracy throughout the world. We’d also like to thank our partners and staff in the U.S. and abroad, and we know how hard everyone has worked under difficult world changes to achieve so many of our objectives this year.

We send our best wishes to all who have stayed in the fight for democratic reforms and for the values of basic human rights. We look forward to a new year with the hope of many positive changes to come.

– Natalia Arno and the Free Russia Foundation team.