Boris Nemtsov Murder: No Enemy Can Match Friends

R4342342The timing could not have been better. Nemtsov was shot by an unidentified killer on Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge near the Kremlin in central Moscow at the end of February. Apparently the murder of Boris Nemtsov is another sacrifice for a greater cause, as we have seen in Lebanon and Georgia with the professional contract killing of Prime Ministers. Too many things about the official Western narrative just don’t add up, including all the rhetoric as to his leadership potential and why all the hype and media spin, including the various narratives of the confessed killer, Zaur Dadayev, who now is telling a different story about his confession.

Recriminations and speculations are coming from all sides, and it is now what is being reported and how it is being reported that is the real story. But finding a motive is essential to the case, and that is something that few are addressing. Russian daily Moskovsky Komsomolets (MK) has raised doubts as to the Charlie Hebdo motive and he was being followed by the accused killers as early as September 2014, long before events in Paris.

Already sides have been taken as to the motivation for the murder, and the Western media is having a field day with speculation and finger pointing wanting to call it a political assassination. Regardless of the ledger of truth or innocent both Putin and former Soviet leader Gorbachev are strongly suggesting that the killing was a provocation. Gorbachev argued that, “It’s an attempt to push the situation into complications, maybe even to destabilise the situation in the country.”

Already the usual fingers are closing ranks to use this as an excuse to toss mud at the Kremlin, such as Garry Kasparov, who claims in a recent Guardian article that it is not necessary to defeat the Russian army but just to come up with a strategy to make Putin look like a loser.  This murder is like a gift from heaven for some, including the former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili – who has become the official spokesperson of the neo cons is claim the global danger presented by Putin’s increasingly belligerent regime, who now is planning his own little comeback to Georgia with the support of NGOs and some kindred spirits in the US State Department.

Harvard Boys did Russia and are doing Ukraine

But to evaluate the death of Nemtsov some institutional knowledge must be accessed. He first came to prominence, and attracted many enemies, as part of Chubais’ corrupt Harvard economic team which was installed to drag Russia into the market economy in the 1990s. What transpired then under the banner of economic “reform” was well documented in an article in the June 1998 edition of The Nation, which documents what actually happened under the tutorship of the Harvard Boy, entitled, “Harvard Boys Do Russia.”

As was intended at the time, after years of economic “reform” financed by billions of dollars in U.S. and Western aid, subsidised loans and rescheduled debt, the majority of Russian people found themselves worse off economically. The privatisation drive which was supposed to help Russia reap the fruits of the free market created a system of tycoon capitalism run for the benefit of a corrupt political oligarchy which appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars of Western aid and plundered Russia’s wealth.

The Washington Post has glorified him as a “no holds barred” economic reformer, but most ordinary Russians, if they had been asked, would have described him as one of those who oversaw the looting of Russia by vested interests and their offshore bank accounts. This is why this great success was forced to resign as Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister.

Shadow Economy and Darkness

In reality Nemtsov was part of Russia’s shadow economy, the very system he was supposed to be eliminating by both criminalising it and providing a better, functioning, free market alternative. The term “shadow economy” is often defined as” a type of business, or exchange and usage of inventory holdings, beyond the control of the state”.

The other common definition is that it is “a complex of “hidden” illegal socio-economic relations between some citizens, or social groups, who use different types of property for their own private interests.” It is these interests which forced Nemtsov’s resignation, a fact he never really made any secret of, as he flaunted these relations to maintain his network of friends afterwards.

Between 2000 and 2003 Nemtsov vehemently opposed what he claimed were Putin’s policies of rolling back civic rights and used his remaining political standing to get closer to the powerful co-chairman of the Union of Rightist Forces, Anatoly Chubais. The people soon realised that he was using political rhetoric for his own ends and the Union of Rightist Forces’ message became muddled and confused, alienating many potential voters, whose agendas were consistent with the party’s but not Nemtsov’s.

More recently he was linked with events in Ukraine, either morally or through direct contact; he often travelled to Ukraine and had meetings with Petro Poroshenko and many of his less-than-savoury supporters, including another foreigner, the deposed Georgian president Misha Saakashvili. His intention appeared to be to find a new political home with anyone who was against the Russian government, but was not willing to do so in, for example, the Baltic States, because his record would have come under scrutiny.

Even the Wall Street journalist has reported Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said the killing could be a political provocation in which Mr. Nemtsov was used as a “sacral victim,” killed to discredit the government and that investigators were also looking into the possibility that the killing is linked to Ukraine.

US Ambassador to Moscow is John Tefft

Many are trying to capitalise on this murder to push one agenda or another. Perhaps the idea is to accomplish what sanctions, and the war in Ukraine, have thus far been unable to accomplish. After all, the same methods of concurrent economic strangulation and involvement in foreign wars ultimately worked in Soviet times, and the usual Western brains behind such operations, which have a well-documented history, are still products of that era.

The timing is also uncanny, as it coincided with the appointment of the new US Ambassador to Moscow, John Tefft, who has a long track record of being in the wrong place at the right time in the interests of US foreign policy and regime change. Not surprisingly, his comment on this internal Russian matter was to visit the site of the shooting, without knowing or saying who was guilty of it, and to proclaim that Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and other policymakers had condemned the opposition leader’s killing and expressed their respect for him.

Nemtsov is being presented as an outspoken opposition critic, with friends in high places outside of Russia. He may well have been once, but he has not been any kind of force or celebrity for 15 years. Killing such a person would gain the Russian leadership nothing, but would suit others well, as he can be sacrificed without compromising existing operations, unlike genuine political players who are needed to get things done, not be worth more to the cause dead than alive.

A great many people, Russian and otherwise, didn’t like or trust Nemtsov.  He could have been shot by any number of people with reasons, as well as simple criminals or deranged persons without. The location near the bridge he was shot was especially convenient and its proximity to the Kremlin. And it just so happens: the female company with him is from Ukraine. Why she was not killed for good measure, unless there is another level to this story.

He had more enemies than just the Kremlin but this is something that the Western media fails to mention. Other obvious suspects would also come into view once the news broke. Like many of the political players of twenty years ago, Nemtsov was involved in shaky mafia alignments for business profits both in Russia, Eastern Europe and (allegedly) Ukraine. The mainstream media might have more of a story, involving inconvenient things like facts, if they checked out his banks and hidden money and traced the money trail. He also shot his mouth off like Louis Farrakhan, who was relatively harmless; he could have also have ended up murdered in the US.

Who benefits?

Many people Nemtsov was personally associated with have been subject to many investigations in their own right. With friends such as his, it must have always been difficult to know whose side anyone was really on, and what might happen if it wasn’t yours. Ilya Yashin, the co-leader of Nemtsov’s small liberal opposition party may have it right. “The trigger man will be blamed, while those who actually ordered Nemtsov’s killing will go free.”

One need to dive deeper, as Yaskin may be onto something. The same friends of America in Georgia and Ukraine who benefited from the IMF money stolen during Nemtsov’s years in power, and skimmed off during the privatisation process, are still doing so. For instance, some of the missing IMF money for Russia ended up in the hands of individuals close to the US intelligence services, including some in the Georgian government. As Nemtsov was one of the architects of this scheme, and knew its workings, a network of favours developed which continues to protect these individuals to this day. But it also made Nemtsov a liability, as he knew more about the favours than anyone, and they knew he knew.

As has been previously reported, Swiss investigators hunting $4.8 billion of this missing IMF aid money suspected that $1.4 billion had been credited to a correspondence account for Obiedynenny Bank at a bank in Geneva. They believed that a company called Runicom SA controlled this account, and described Roman Abramovich as the owner of Runicom SA and joint controller of Obiedynenny Bank.

Ambramovich is, of course, a former close associate of Boris Berezovsky, and through him the late Georgian tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili. These two men are known to have been involved in various money laundering schemes, included the establishment of an entity called Salford Capital Partners, now known to be a vehicle for “reinvesting” funds derived from Obiedynenny Bank.

Salford had a wide reach in places the oligarchy Nemtsov helped create have well-worn connections with. Though registered in the British Virgin Islands it has been active in a number of countries, particularly Serbia, where it has financed a number of political intrigues, despite their limited financial returns for investor clients. It has been involved in a scandal there concerning the Apatin Brewery, which is a matter of public record.

Salford’s website once read: “Salford is an independent equity asset management company that manages a fund called the New World Value Fund……..The company has contracts with several investment funds for governing their investments in Europe and especially eastern Europe…the largest [Fund] being the New World Value Fund…………a significant majority of investment capital committed to the Fund comes from Middle Eastern and West European investors”. It said this until the website was removed from public view, despite its declared mission to attract and reinvest assets.

The “Middle Eastern” funds mentioned here largely derived from Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa al Nahyan, who has tried to buy his way in to a number of politically related projects in the region, including the BTC pipeline and the strengthening of Azerbaijan-Turkey relations. The Sheikh is or was represented on the Advisory Board of the New World Value Fund.

Also dearly departed Boris Berezovsky had been under investigation by the Swiss Attorney General for money laundering and being a member of a criminal organisation. When this investigation began his lawyer was a man named Stephen Curtis, owner of the London-based legal firm Curtis Co. This firm was also employed by Salford to provide advice on various legal matters, and Curtis was formerly a director of Salford.

Following the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky in Russia, Curtis was appointed the Managing Director of Yukos.  He was killed in a helicopter crash in March 2004. It has been reported in the press that shortly before his death Curtis was working with British intelligence concerning the illicit business dealings of Russian nationals in the UK.

All of these individuals and companies are connected to the late Boris Nemtsov, in terms of personnel, activities and sources of finance. Whatever the rights and wrongs of his politics, or Vladimir Putin’s, he was the associate of any number of shady characters, who most of us would rather not count as our friends, whatever the benefits, because our personal safety would be compromised.

I don’t know who ordered Boris Nemtsov killed at the moment neither does anyone else. It will be easy to let something go down for this. The truth is evasive. What is obvious however is that if people wish to look for shadowy figures and dark motives, there are plenty of other places to look besides The Kremlin, and a reason “why there is such an international effort, smoke and mirrors, trying to stop us from looking elsewhere?”

It is understood that Nemtsov had few followers. However, his following is increasing and thanks to the so called balanced media in the West, which we all know is NEVER used for political or propaganda purposes.

Henry Kamens, columnist, expert on Central Asia and Caucasus, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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