Boris Nemtsov, 55, an outspoken Russian Opposition leader of Vladimir Putin's war agenda in Ukraine, was gunned down and killed - shot four times in the back, just steps outside the Kremlin, last night, less then 48-hours before he was to lead an anti-Ukraine war rally in Moscow on Sunday.
Nemtsov, who was quoted recently as saying he was concerned that Russian President Putin might want him dead over his opposition to the war in Ukraine, was shot and killed as he walked across the Great Moskvoretsky Bridge over the Moskva River in Moscow. Reports indicate that he was taking an after dinner walk with an Ukrainian woman, who was not injured, when he was shot in the back by assassins in a white car.
Putin described the event as "brutal" and has taken the investigation into the slaying under presidential control, Reuters reported. Putin's third term at the helm of Russia has witnessed many of his critics jailed or forced out of Russia.
"That a leader of the opposition could be shot beside the walls of the Kremlin is beyond imagination. There can be only one version: that he was shot for telling the truth," another opposition leader Mikhail Kasyanov said at the murder scene.
United States(US) President Barack Obama described the fallen Russian opposition leader as a "dedicated and eloquent" defender of Russians' rights. Ed Royce(R), Chairman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee observed that "lawlessness now pervades in Putin's Russia." He added: "Regardless of who killed Boris Nemtsov, this shocking murder is the latest assault on those who dare to oppose the Putin regime," Reuters reported.
Yet, in spite of Vladimir Putin's actions of destabilization in Ukraine and elsewhere, the International community continues to court and to cooperate with the Russian president.
Whether or not Sunday's Moscow anti-Ukraine war rally continues in light of the murder of Nemtsov, some action of mourning or of solidarity with the fallen defender of Russian rights could be expected under careful surveillance of Putin's people.