Russia Update: Officers in Kadyrov’s Troops Declared Wanted in Nemtsov Case

June 17, 2015
Zaur Dadayev in Basmanny Court March 8, where he was arraigned in the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. Photo by Philipp Kireev.

Ruslan Geremeyev a former officer of the Sever [North] Battalion of the Chechen Interior Ministry, and an associate, Ruslan Mukhudinov have now been placed on the investigation’s wanted list in the case of the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

Welcome to our column, Russia Update, where we will be closely following day-to-day developments in Russia, including the Russian government’s foreign and domestic policies.

The previous issue is here.


Russia This Week:

Is ‘Novorossiya’ Really Dead?
From Medal of Valor to Ubiquitous Propaganda Symbol: the History of the St. George Ribbon
What Happened to the Slow-Moving Coup?
Can We Be Satisfied with the Theory That Kadyrov Killed Nemtsov?
All the Strange Things Going On in Moscow

Special features:

With Cash and Conspiracy Theories, Russian Orthodox Philanthropist Malofeyev is Useful to the Kremlin
Alexey Navalny On the Murder of Boris Nemtsov
Theories about Possible Perpetrators of the Murder of Boris Nemtsov
Novaya Gazeta Releases Sensational Kremlin Memo

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Russia Lost Emails Concerning FIFA Bid When They Returned Rented Computers

The fallout from the investigation into fraud within FIFA continues to spread. The Guardian has this update on the investigation and how it could affect the 2018 World Cup, scheduled to take place in Sochi:

Swiss investigators are looking into 53 possible cases of money laundering and 104 incidents of suspicious activity in Swiss bank accounts as part of their investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The head of Fifa’s audit and compliance committee, Domenico Scala, has already reiterated that there could be a revote for 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 tournament in Qatar if clear evidence of bribery emerged.

There is also a new controversy over whether the report by the head of FIFA’s ethics committee, Michael Garcia, will be released in its unredacted form, and there are also questions about whether FIFA’s own investigation treated these issues seriously enough. Again, The Guardian reports:

A disputed summary version of Garcia’s investigation, which caused the US attorney to quit his post in frustration, raised question marks over Qatar’s bid but said that there was not sufficient evidence to strip it of the tournament.

The summary, written by the German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, said that the Russian bid was unable to cooperate because it had returned its rented computers and lost all its emails.

That Russia’s emails were “lost” because the computers were returned is sure to raise some eyebrows about whether the FIFA investigation has just granted guilty parties enough time to hide any evidence of wrongdoing.

James Miller

Geremeyev, Mukhudinov, Officers in Kadyrov’s Troops, Declared Wanted in Nemtsov Case

Ruslan Geremeyev a former officer of the Sever [North] Battalion of the
Chechen Interior Ministry, and an associate, Ruslan Mukhudinov have now been placed on the investigation’s wanted list in
the case of the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, Rosbalt reported.

Earlier this month, a source told Interfax that authorities intended to place him on the federal wanted list if they could not locate him.

A law-enforcement source explained to Rosbalt why the suspects are being sought, yet still not formally declared wanted:

“If we do not manage to interrogate them before the end of the investigation, they will be declared not just as an operational search but a federal search, and the materials regarding them will be removed to a separate case.”

Thus the source appears to indicate that there are several stages before a suspect will reach the point of inclusion on the federal wanted list.

The Investigative Committee was unable to obtain access to interrogate Geremeyev in April, and now he is believed to have fled Russia.

Last month, sources told Rosbalt that both Geremeyev and Mukhudinov were seen together on an airport video surveillance tape after the murder.  Both served together in the Chechen Interior Ministry’s elite Sever Battalion, which is personally controlled by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Earlier this week, sources said Zaur Dadayev, the main suspect in the murder, may be tried by a closed military court as he was technically still on duty in the armed forces on February 27, the night of the murder. He had earlier resigned and requested to take 30 days leave.

For months, the only news on the investigation of the murder of Nemtsov, an opposition leader critical of the Kremlin on a range of topics including tolerate of Kadyrov’s “personal army” and the war in Ukraine, has been through carefully-staged leaks to the media.

Putin assigned the heads of the Federal Security Service (FSB), Investigative Committee and the Interior Ministry (police) to form a joint task force and take personal responsibility for the investigation.

But it has been months since the FSB or other law-enforcement chiefs have said anything officially about the case.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick