With Russians reeling from the cold-blooded murder of opposition activist Boris Nemtsov, organizers planned a mourning demonstration on Sunday in place of a rally that Nemtsov had planned to lead.
Take a look at the developments in Moscow on Saturday:
The rally that Nemtsov had promoted before his death will now be a march to remember him
The city gave quick approval for the new gathering, in contrast to its usual slow and grudging permission for opposition rallies.
The mourning march on Sunday could serve to galvanize the beleaguered and marginalized opposition, or it could prove to be a brief catharsis after which emotions dissipate.
Opposition supporters will also march to the bridge over the Moskva River where Nemtsov was shot to death.
Organizers posted this map of the planned route:
Only hours before his death, Nemtsov gave a radio interview to promote the march, which was intended to protest Russia’s actions in the Ukraine crisis and the economic crisis at home. Nemtsov denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “mad, aggressive” policies.
Police reportedly find the car used in the killing
Nemtsov was shot at least six times from the open window of a moving white vehicle. Now, police say they’ve recovered the abandoned car, according to reports:
http://t.co/a4StnvCNTK Police have found the car used in the assassination of Boris Nemtsov. It was abandoned not far from the murder scene.
— Kevin Rothrock (@KevinRothrock) February 28, 2015
Multiple reputable sources also suggested that the car appeared to have a license plate from Ingushetia, in Russia’s restive North Caucasus region. As Russia’s Investigative Committee outlined a number of possible motives for the murder on Saturday, the development could help draw attention away from possible government involvement.
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) February 28, 2015
Putin sends a condolence telegram to Nemtsov’s 86-year-old mother
“Please accept my deepest condolences on this irreparable loss,” Putin wrote in the telegram, which was posted on the Kremlin’s website. “I sincerely share the grief that has befallen you.”
The president, who has said he will personally oversee the investigation into the killing, vowed to ensure that those responsible for “the vile and cynical murder” are punished.
Nemtsov “left his mark on the history of Russia, in politics and public life,” Putin told Nemtsov’s mother. “He always openly and honestly stated his position.”
In an interview with the Sobesednik newspaper, Nemtsov said earlier this month that his mother was afraid that Putin could have him killed. Asked if he had such fears himself, Nemtsov responded, “If I were afraid, I wouldn’t have led an opposition party.”
The Kremlin lays out many possible culprits, except the Kremlin
Russia’s top investigative body said it is looking into several possible motives for the killing, including an attempt to destabilize the state, Islamic extremism, the Ukraine conflict and Nemtsov’s personal life.
A statement from the body, the Investigative Committee, did not address the possibility seen as likely by many of Nemtsov’s supporters — that he was killed for being one of Putin’s most adamant and visible critics.
The committee said it was looking into whether Nemtsov had been killed as a “sacrificial victim for those who do not shun any method for achieving their political goals,” a suggestion echoing comments by Putin’s spokesman and other Russian politicians that the attack was a “provocation” against the state.
It also said it was considering whether there was “personal enmity” toward Nemtsov regarding his domestic life. State-controlled TV and Kremlin-friendly media outlets on Saturday gave considerable attention to Nemtsov’s companion, identifying her as a Ukrainian model 30 years his junior, and showing photos of her in alluring poses. The Investigative Committee said the pair were headed for Nemtsov’s apartment.
— Yury Barmin (@yurybarmin) February 27, 2015
The committee also said it was investigating whether the killing was connected to Islamic extremism or the Ukraine conflict, where Russia-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces since last April.
Mourners gather at the scene of the shooting
Mashable‘s Evgeny Feldman was at the site of Nemtsov’s death on Saturday, just yards from the Kremlin, and captured these images:
Additional reporting by The Associated Press
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