Thousands of stunned Russians laid flowers and lit candles on Saturday on the bridge where opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was shot dead near the Kremlin, a murder that showed the risks of speaking out against President Vladimir Putin.
Nemtsov, 55, was shot four times in the back by killers in a white car late on Friday as he walked across the bridge over the Moskva River in central Moscow with a Ukrainian woman, who was unhurt, police said.
Police sealed off the blood-stained bridge close to the red walls of the Kremlin and Red Square for two hours overnight, then hosed it down as people came to pay tribute to one of Putin's biggest opponents over Russia's role in Ukraine.
Russia's Investigative Committee, which answers to Putin, said it was following several lines of inquiry, including that the opposition may have committed the crime to rally support for a march against Kremlin policies on the economy and Ukraine.
Flowers were piled at least a meter (three feet) high, about two meters deep and two meters wide. A piece of white paper saying "We are all Nemtsov" stood among the flowers.
"People are afraid to support our movement. Opposition activists receive threats every day and Boris was no exception. But they won't stop us," said opposition activist Mark Galperin.
On the contrary, Mr. Galperin, Putin is doing an excellent job of stopping his opposition.
Leading international condemnation of the murder, U.S. President Barack Obama called for a prompt, impartial and transparent investigation to ensure those responsible were brought to justice for the "vicious killing".Political murders often go unsolved in Russia. Police said they were investigating whether the murder was aimed at destabilizing the political situation in Russia or was committed by radical Islamists against Nemtsov, a Jew.A car suspected of being used by the killers, and identified as coming from the mainly Muslim Ingushetia region, was found abandoned in central Moscow. Some Russian news outlets said surveillance footage showed two men leaving it.Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev cautioned against jumping to conclusions but some opposition figures blamed Putin directly. Others said Russian society was in decline, describing an environment where Putin demands total loyalty and supporters go to great lengths to do what they think may please him."In Putin's atmosphere of hatred and violence, abroad and in Russia, bloodshed is the prerequisite to show loyalty, that you are on the team," another opposition leader, former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, said on Twitter."If Putin gave (the) order to murder Boris Nemtsov is not the point. It is Putin's dictatorship. His 24/7 propaganda about enemies of the state."
This is what an actual tyrant looks like. So odd that Republicans scream at Obama over tyranny, but worship Putin.
Oh wait, that makes perfect sense too.