Investigation Completed in Nemtsov Murder Case; FSB Says Gun Used Was ‘Improvised’

June 20, 2016
A man lays a flower at a makeshift memorial for Boris Nemtsov at the site of his murder on Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge near the Kremlin.

LIVE UPDATES: The Russian Investigative Committee has completed its investigation of suspects in 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.

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Investigation Completed in Nemtsov Murder Case; FSB Says Gun Used Was ‘Improvised’

The Russian Investigative Committee has completed its investigation of suspects in the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, Novaya Gazeta reported, citing the Investigative Committee’s web site.
Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigative Committee said (translation by The Interpreter):

“The investigation has gathered a sufficient evidence base, and in that connection, the criminal case regarding five suspects has been sent for confirmation of the indictment.

The evidence gathered by the investigation completely confirms the mercenary motive.”

The suspects were promised at least 15 million rubles ($233,810), he added.

Thus the motive given by the suspects Zaur Dadayev and Anzor Gubashev in their original testimony, that they murdered Nemtsov for motives of religious hatred because Nemtsov supposedly supported Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon, was not confirmed.

Nemtsov had written several posts on his Facebook page in solidarity with the Charlie Hebdo journalists, who were murdered in January 2015 by terrorists who believed their work defamed the Prophet Muhammed.

Markin commented:

“The evidence gathered testifies to the fact that the participants in the organized group began preparation for the commission of the murder of Nemtsov back in September 2014, which completely eliminates the motive indicated them of murder on the grounds of religious hatred.”

In fact it was Russian authorities who first put out the theory that Nemtsov’s murder was related to Charlie Hebdo, and the suspects recanted their testimony saying it was made under torture.
The four suspects (Zaur Dadayev, Anzor Gubashev, Temirlan Eskherkhanov and Khamzat Bakhayev) were charged with murder for hire as part of an organized group and unlawful acquisition carrying, transport and possession of firearms (Art. 105, sect. 2, pars zh, z and Art. 222, sect. 3.)
A fifth suspect, Shadid Gubashev, brother of Anzor, died from a grenade explosion when police came to his door to arrest him soon after the murder.
A separate criminal case has been established for Ruslan Mukhudinov, a soldier of the Sever battalion of the Chechen Interior Ministry who was the driver for Ruslan Geremeyev, deputy commander of the battalion who has fled Russia.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) also made an announcement on Nemtsov’s case today, Novaya Gazeta reported, citing RIA Novosti.
The weapon used to shoot Nemtsov was home-made, assembled from parts bought from abroad. The FSB said contraband weapons come into Russia mainly from Ukraine via organized crime and terrorist groups. 
On its web site, the FSB said similar weapons were used in a series of murders in Moscow by the GTA gang, in the assassination of B.A. Kantemirov, a deputy in Kabardino-Balkaria and in the assassination of Nemtsov.

The Moskva news agency reported, citing a source in law-enforcement, that a 9-mm pistol was found in the apartment of Artur Geremeyev, brother of Ruslan Geremeyev, which was said to have been obtained in Chechnya.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick