Why Boris Nemtsov’s Assassination Matters

Credit Here.

Boris Nemtsov’s fierce opposition to the actions taken by the Putin Administration in Russia was one of the strongest seen. Nemtsov, a former Deputy Prime Minister under Boris Yeltsin, was one of the most influential people in the introduction of capitalism in Russia after the Soviet Union’s fall in 1991. He was a leader of, along with Gerry Kasparov, the Solidarnost movement in Russia.
Nemtsov in more recent years was a powerful critic of President Vladimir Putin’s policies, especially the corruption related to the 2014 Sochi Olympics and the invasion of Ukraine. In the last months he had been planning marches in Russia to protest these 2 major actions by the Putin government.
But, on February 27th, Boris Nemtsov was shot 4 times in the back and killed right in front of the Kremlin.
Credit Here.
The assassination of Boris Nemtsov appears to be a contract killing, which has become much-used by the Putin government to silence its critics. Dramatically staged in front of the Kremlin on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, Nemtsov’s murder was a message to the Russian people that dissent will not be tolerated by Vladimir Putin.
The official story is that the identity of the killer(s) is unknown. Pro-Putin supporters say that Nemtsov gave Putin no credible threat and therefore the President had no reason to order his assassination. They, and the Russian media, try to pin the blame on Islamic terrorists who may have strived for vengeance for Nemtsov’s stance on the Charlie Hebdo attack.
If we believe that Islamic terror theory, why Nemtsov? Why not someone who influenced Russian actions toward Muslims much more than Nemtsov? Why not Putin himself, because of his leadership of the Chechen Wars? The theory just doesn’t make sense.
The only reason that checks out is that Putin himself ordered Nemtsov’s assassination. This would follow precedent, as evidenced by the high-profile killings of Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko, and Boris Berezovsky, among others. In all of these cases, those killed had fervently worked to protect democracy from the Putin Administration’s goal to dismantle it.
Credit Here. 
The real reason Nemtsov was killed now, in February 2015, was revealed by Russian dissenter Kseniya Sobchak (daughter of Putin’s mentor Anatoly Sobchak). Sobchak said that Nemtsov was preparing an exposé definitively proving the presence of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. This would have changed the game in Putin’s mission to conquer Ukraine, and this is backed up with the report that Nemtsov’s hard drive and papers were confiscated by police subsequent to his murder. So, Putin had Boris Nemtsov killed for the dual reasons of preventing the Russian presence in Ukraine report and to continue to build the culture of fear in Russia. Putin’s goal is not to return to the Soviet Union, but that is an inspiration. He strives to create the strongest Russian Empire ever known, and runs the government on violent Russian nationalism and fear. Of course, an empire cannot be built when dissent is present. Which is why Vladimir Putin killed Boris Nemtsov. And why this is just the beginning.
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Ukrainian Crisis: The US’s Imperative Ally For Sanctions, The United Kingdom

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This is another installment in the ongoing Ukrainian Crisis series. I wrote an article a few days ago about the path forward in the crisis for the West, and now I am going into detail about the sanctions possibility.

As Russia has now effectively taken control of Crimea, we are weighing our options on how to isolate them. The invasion of Crimea was illegal in regard to international law, and there must be consequences for those responsible.

I am going to say up-front: We must continue to try diplomacy. Even if we are able to get Russia to withdraw from Crimea, which is my hope, we must make sure that it never happens again. We cannot treat Russia like we have North Korea, where, if a nation acts up, we give them aid packages to calm them down for a short period of time. This makes us look incompetent and is inspiration for other nations that like to cause trouble.

If we are to impose sanctions on Russia in response to the occupation of Crimea, we must do it right. We cannot, while isolating Russia, also isolate ourselves. This is why my belief is that we must ally ourselves with our greatest international partner, the UK.

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The United Kingdom (I will for now on refer to as Great Britain) is a major investor in Russia. In investments, Great Britain invests about $77 billion dollars USD in the Russian economy. Great Britain agrees with us that Russia must be isolated, with the Prime Minister David Cameron (@David_Cameron) tweeting, “There must be significant costs if they [Russia] don’t change course”

I truly believe that the path forward in regards to any foreign affairs in the United States is our “special relationship” with Great Britain. In this situation, our combined investments in Russia equal $92 billion dollars USD. We should freeze Russian assets and put sanctions on the economic sectors that affect Russian government officials. The financially-poor Russians are not to blame in this, so we should, initially, impose sanctions on industries such as precious jewels, automobiles, alcohol (Russians love the taste and money made off vodka) and some oil corporations.

Now, unfortunately, Europe will lose some of the natural gas they use in the crisis. I would like to explain two points on this, though. One, the crisis is going to result in Russia’s freeze of natural gas trade in Europe with or without sanctions, so we might as well get some positive out of it. Two, Russia will lose much more out of sanctions than we would. Their economy is less stable and less well-rounded than ours. They, in the long run, will lose a lot more finances than we will.

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I focus on Great Britain in this article because the EU is trying to offer an “off-ramp” for Putin. I understand where they are coming from, but we need to make sure this will not continue nor will happen again. Great Britain is the least out of the EU nations to pursue this course, and unarguably is more closely allied with us than mainland Europe. We need the European Union’s help, but, if they are not looking into sanctions, we must take action at least with one other world power. I would like to see South Korea on our side of the sanctions argument too, and this is a course that may be taken.

If another “Iron Curtain” is to be pulled across Europe, which I strongly do not want to happen and will work to prevent, we must be the protectors of democracy and freedom again, and need our ally Great Britain the most. Our world is at a tipping point, and the path we take from here may be as influential on this century as the Warsaw Pact was on the last.

(Credit To CNN and BBC for information and photos)