MOSCOW – Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB, formerly the KGB) announced Saturday the arrest of suspects in the murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was gunned down last Feb. 27 in front of the Kremlin.
“Two suspects have been arrested today for that crime. They are Anzor Gubashev and Zaur Dadayev,” FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov said on Russian public television.
Bortnikov, who said the people arrested are from the North Caucasus, added that President Vladimir Putin has been informed of their detention.
“By order of the president, the FSB, the Interior Ministry and the Investigative Committee created a joint operating team to investigate the murder of Boris Nemtsov,” he said.
According to another official, cited by the Interfax agency, those in custody are the suspected assassins of Nemtsov, who died on the spot after taking four bullets in the back on Feb. 27 around midnight on a bridge near the Kremlin.
“Almost immediately after the crime, security forces found clues that helped solve the case,” the official said.
In particular he mentioned finding the car in which the criminals got away and in which police found material that allowed them to locate the suspects, as did images from surveillance cameras.
“This is good news,” Nemtsov’s attorney Vadim Prokhorov said, adding that the victim’s family wants the suspects to confess because having them formally accused is not enough.
Meanwhile the head of the Human Rights Committee in the Kremlin, Mikhail Fedotov, said that, aside from catching the murderers, it is vital that the intellectual authors of the crime be identified.
This week the Russian president demanded that the Interior Ministry prevent political crimes like “the shameless assassination of Boris Nemtsov in the very heart of the capital.”
“We must free Russia once and for all of the shame of tragedies like the one we have recently seen and suffered,” he said
The young Ukrainian woman who was with Nemtsov when he was murdered last Friday on a bridge over the Moscow River, denied Monday in a statement on Russian television that she had seen the gunmen.
“I don’t know where the killer came from. I didn’t see him, since it all happened behind me,” she said.
Nemtsov supporters accuse the Kremlin, not of pulling the trigger, not even of plotting the murder, but of provoking the crime by planting “the seed of hate” against those who criticize the annexation of Crimea and oppose Russian military intervention in Ukraine.
Tens of thousands of people bade their final farewell to the opposition leader after taking part Sunday in a massive commemorative march through the streets of Moscow.