What are the chances…

Boris Nemtsov was murdered, in plain sight of the Kremlin, by hitmen who escaped in a white sedan with Ingush (as in, almost-Chechen-but-let’s-not-get-Kadyrov-angry) license plates.

It seems that so far nothing unexpected:

But here’s a question. How probable is it that Boris Nemtsov, one of the most outspoken critic of Putin, and organizer of a major nuisance for the Kremlin (tomorrow’s protests march), was out of sight of the special services only hours before the event? And especially when he was within a hearing range of Putin’s office?

But do the Russian services trail political opponents?

Past is the best predictor of the future, once again.

2 years ago Moscow, the Freedom Rally was held at Bolotnaya Square, commemorating the turbulent 2012 rally on the same day that triggered the anti-opposition Bolotnaya criminal case.

The day before, May 5th 2012, Putin’s Chief of Interior Politics & spin-doctor received an email titled: “Memo on the 5th of May (conversation in the cafe)”

The email was sent by an unnamed account, which I have traced to the Member of Moscow City Parliament, and United Russia functionary, Kirill Shtitov. The email contained two photos – obviously taken surreptitiously in a cafe – and a very detailed memo containing the conversation between the two opposition politicians, who were discussing plans for the next day’s event.

Here are the photos:

image1image
..and here is the beginning of the memo sent to the Kremlin::

“On May 5 2013, prior to the March of Freedom, the organizers gathered in the Chokoladnitza cafe, where they discussed logistical matters relating to the event, and their further actions.

The conversation was between:  Pavel Shelkov (https://www.facebook.com/pshelkov) Mikhail Anshakov (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004091321893), Nikolay (we couldn’t match him to a social network account) and another woman (also couldnt match her to an account), as well as an additional unidentified person (a representative of the nationalists column).

During the conversations they discussed the order of managing and process of the planned event, as well as the attitude of the coordination council of the opposition towards this event. During the conversations, we got confirmation of the information about discord with the Coordination Council of Opposition….

You can read the whole “memo” here.

We have no way of knowing who did the spying and reporting. And it is unlikely this is an FSB document, or one would hope so, considering its complete sophoremoreship. But what we do see is that the Kremlin actively tailed and bugged opposition functionaries (even not so important ones) ahead of “high-risk” events such as major rallies.

What are the chances, I am asking myself, that a key organizer of the upcoming march, an iconic opposition figure, would be left out of sight walking around the Kremlin, just before a new high-risk event?

Just asking.

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