Today, a few dozen meters from the Kremlin, Boris Nemtsov was killed. He was one of the last of the remaining oppositionists. He was killed point blank. In the back. At night, on the 27th of February.
And on the first of March, the MARCH OF SPRING, the MARCH FOR PEACE was supposed to take place in Moscow, the capital of the Russian Federation. Boris Nemtsov was one of the leaders and organizers of the march. But he will not be there. The march will prove to be a kind of test, a challenge to Russia’s failings.
It is said that Boris Yeltsin thought long and hard about whom to appoint to the post of prime minister. He was uncertain whether to choose Boris Nemtsov or Vladimir Putin. But knowingly or not Yeltsin chose as heir to the throne a glassy-eyed KGB agent. Yeltsin made a wrong choice, and it changed the course of history. Had he chosen Boris Nemtsov there would not have been thousands of corpses, or the second Chechen campaign, or Dubrovka, or Beslan, or the loss of Politkovskaya and Magnitsky, or the wars in Georgia and Donbas, or the seizure of Crimea.
And maybe Russia would have become a positive and constructive force in the world and a prosperous country. But Yeltsin chose Putin. And all of that happened. And Russia reversed course to become the USSR all over again. And Russia did not just go back to being the USSR, Russia went back to the worst of all eras in the evolution of the USSR: Stalinism. Finger pointing at foreign and domestic enemies began.
Television screens overflow with paranoid delusional dribble about western and especially American attempts to bring Great Mighty Russia to her knees, to force the Great Mother to bow down – but of course the enemy will fail because Putin the Great Helmsman is in control.
Ordinary Russians are fanatic in their trust and faith. They shut their eyes at the countless and senseless military campaigns, the weak economy, the absence of basic civil rights. They are blind to the plight of political prisoners, they accept lawlessness and abuse from the police, they don’t notice the journalists being killed and they are happy to rationalize and find excuses for the war with Ukraine and the seizure of Crimea.
There was no reaction when Anna Politkovskaya was gunned down in front of her apartment, when Magnitsky was tortured to death in a psychiatric hospital, or when Russian soldiers were sent to Ukraine to die in a country that “is not a country” in a war that “is not.” All of it was done and all of it was wrapped in lies and hypocrisy.
And today, when on a central street in Moscow a leader of the opposition is gunned down at close range completely openly and brazenly will the Russian people maintain their deaf and dumb and blind acceptance of things as they are?
How we wish that this blatant and vicious political assassination would rouse all of Russia to join in the March for Peace on March 1st. How we wish the people would come out to demonstrate their opposition to the return of the era of fear and lawlessness.
If Russians quietly submit and swallow this in silence the darkness of totalitarianism will descend on this vast country and the sun will not rise for many years to come.
Russians must counter this murder, executed out of fear and panic, because if they don’t, they will live as hostages to one or another dictator for years.
The March 1st March for Peace serves as a litmus test for Russian society as a last chance to win freedom.
It is the best and most fitting way to show respect for the deceased Boris Nemtsov whose dream it was to see a united, strong, modern, and friendly Russia.
We, the entire EMPR team extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Boris Nemtsov.