Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Modern Russian purge

Stalin's purges went far beyond the murders of a few political opponents. Putin's purges seem to be on a much smaller scale. But the evidence is appalling.

Boris Nemtsov murder: Tens of thousands march in Moscow
Tens of thousands of people have marched through central Moscow to honour opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, who was shot dead [a year ago]…

Mr Nemtsov's allies have accused the Kremlin of involvement, but President Vladimir Putin condemned the murder as "vile" and vowed to find the killers.

Opposition supporters gathered at a point not far from the Kremlin before marching past the spot on Great Moskvoretsky Bridge where Mr Nemtsov was killed. Some chanted "Russia without Putin!"

Several thousand people also marched in St Petersburg.

Moscow city authorities had approved a march of up to 50,000 people…

The mood was sombre as the crowd gathered. Many were carrying flowers to place at the spot where Boris Nemtsov was killed. They had placards displaying his photograph, and slogans that included a play on Mr Nemtsov's name so that it read: "Fight on!"…

These were extraordinary scenes right at the heart of Russia's capital. The police were out in force, but the march was peaceful. Many in the crowd were carrying their national flag, with a black ribbon tied to it.

They said they wanted to show that they are patriots too. That criticising those in power does not make you an enemy of the state. People told me that - like Boris Nemtsov - they just want to see a different Russia…

Mr Nemtsov served as first deputy prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s but fell out of favour with Mr Putin and became an outspoken opponent…

Violent deaths of Putin opponents
  • April 2003 - Liberal politician Sergey Yushenkov
  • July 2003 - Investigative journalist Yuri Shchekochikhin
  • July 2004 - Forbes magazine Russian editor Paul Klebnikov
  • October 2006 - Investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya
  • November 2006 - Former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko
  • March 2013 -Boris Berezovsky, former Kremlin power broker
  • February 2015 - Boris Nemtsov, former Kremlin politician

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