As my readers and particularly Twitter followers are no doubt aware by now, opposition figure and politician Boris Nemtsov was killed last night, shot multiple times by an unknown gunman in a white car. He was killed on Bolshoy Moskvoretsky bridge, within sight of the Kremlin and close by several other important government headquarters in Moscow. Apparently the killers felt bold enough to commit such an egregious crime, involving a firearm, being fully aware of the security presence in central Moscow.
In the next couple days it might seem like I have little to say about this tragedy, but rest assured it is only because I am working on a special article that will incorporate my opinions on this matter. I was planning to write on the topic of how Kremlin propaganda can lead to real violence which can’t be managed or controlled by the power structure. I already had a number of incidents in mind to use as examples. Then last night this shooting happened, and it may serve as the clearest, most concrete example of the topic I wanted to discuss.
Last Saturday, the government sponsored a meeting where various thugs swore they would not allow a coup to take place in Russia. Nemtsov has long been targeted as a traitor who wanted to humiliate Russia and deliver it as a colony to the United States. Since 2013, the Kremlin’s media outlets have increasingly whipped up more and more fury against potential “5th columnists.” This has coincided with increasing government harassment of NGO’s and Russia’s remaining independent media outlets. In this climate, it is naive indeed to think that people constantly subjected to increasingly hysterical, apocalyptic propaganda will not act on their beliefs at some point. If you tell people that they are surrounded by dark forces who seek to bring about the end of their existence, some of them are going to attempt to fight.
It seems to me that Putin’s “managed democracy” is now rapidly becoming unmanageable.