Hearing Out Russia's Patriotic Bloggers on Nemtsov's Murder

Image edited by Kevin Rothrock.

Image edited by Kevin Rothrock.

A little more than a day after the killing of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, very little is known about the reasons for his murder. Online and in the news, in Russia and across the world, most liberal voices have one way or another blamed the Kremlin for Nemtsov’s homicide.

The two most popular theories to emerge seem to be that Russia’s authorities either sanctioned the assassination outright, or they cultivated an “atmosphere of hatred” (with demonstrations and news propaganda) that led inevitably to someone killing a high-profile critic of the government. As with the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, many are holding Vladimir Putin personally responsible for the murder.

These scum fueled all this hatred against the “fifth column.” They mass-produced their own Red Guard.

Don’t write anything about “hatred in society.” Putin is guilty, not some abstract hatred.

With these narratives now dominating much of the commentary about Nemtsov’s tragic death, RuNet Echo reached out to three “patriotic” Russian bloggers known for their criticisms of the liberal opposition, asking them to respond to accusations that the Kremlin is somehow culpable for the murder. These individuals’ views are significant in a country where an overwhelming majority of the people do not identify with the liberal opposition. As it grows increasingly popular outside Russia to dismiss Russians’ political attitudes as “Kremlin brainwashing,” it becomes more important than ever to stop and listen.

@Politrash (Stanislav Apetyan)

На мой взгляд, довольно очевидно, что властям смерть Немцова была нужна меньше всего. Единственные, кто от его смерти вообще выигрывают – это силы, заинтересованные в дестабилизации ситуации в стране. В версию про каких-то сумасшедших активистов, которые бы при этом не представляли реального веса Немцова в российской политике, я не верю вообще. То, как сейчас некоторые оппозиционные группы (в т.ч. под контролем Ходорковского) пытаются использовать убийство Немцова в качестве политического инструмента нахожу запредельный цинизм, смешанный с откровенной пошлостью.

Вопрос о ненависти вряд ли имеет хоть малейшее отношение к вопросу о причинах убийства. Но если говорить о ненависти как таковой, то почти все люди, которые сегодня на нее пеняют, имеют то ли очень короткую память, то ли не имеют ее вовсе. Все последние несколько лет они только и делали, что пытались раскрутить в обществе эту саму ненависть. Есть даже настоящий памятник ненависти в виде кашинской статьи. Я даже не говорю о памятном выступлении Навального с “я перегрызу глотку этим скотам”. Когда они говорят о ненависти – это даже не смешно, а просто совсем какой-то сюрреализм.

In my view, it’s pretty obvious that the authorities needed Nemtsov’s death least of all. The only people who had anything to gain from his death are the forces bent on destabilizing the situation in Russia. I put no stock whatsoever in theories that the killers were some group of crazy [anti-opposition] activists who failed to understand Nemtsov’s true weight in Russian politics. I think it’s extraordinarily cynical and more than a little crass how some opposition groups (like those under Khodorkovsky’s control) are now trying to use Nemtsov’s murder as a political instrument.

Hatred hardly has anything to do with the reasons for this murder, but if you want to talk about hatred, know that almost everyone blaming it now has a very short memory (if it’s possible to say they remember anything at all). All these recent years, all they’ve done is try to build up in society this very hatred. Oleg Kashin even penned a bonafide monument to hatred with an article titled Learning to Hate [in 2013]. I won’t even get into Alexey Navalny’s memorable line, “I'll chew through the throats of those swine!” When [liberals] talk about hatred, it’s not even funny; it’s just surreal.


Прежде всего, как бы кто к Немцову ни относился, убийство – это плохо. И объективно оно скорее вредит власти и обществу в целом. Немцов был предсказуем, понятен всем и безобиден в политическом плане, его сегодняшний потолок – место депутата областной думы. Показательно, что с первых минут трагедии конъюрктурщики вроде Волкова начали делать пиар и всячески эксплуатировать смерть своего коллеги. Вот буквально с первой же минуты. Соратники Немцова по СПС, Надеждин и Хакамада, по сравнению с нынешними оппозиционерами предельно корректны в своих заявляниях и призывают просто почтить память.

Либеральная общественность никогда не признает, что власть не виновна в убийстве, им это не выгодно. Нужна новая икона протеста, Политковскую уже все забыли, Ходорковского помиловали, Пусси Райт вышли и их принимают только на Западе, но не в Россию, задержанных за беспорядки 6 мая половину амнистировали, Удальцов не тянет на икону – он не свой, не либерал, Навального все никак не сажают, вот из Немцова и будут делать “флаг”.

В ненависти прежде всего виновата сама либеральная общственность. Ненависть порождает ненависть. Они открыто последние годы заявляли “Мы перегрызем горло этим скотам”, “когда придем к властии, мы будем вешать”, постоянно в соцсетях желают смерти и болезни оппонентам, пишут колонки, как научиться ненавидеть и как они с удовольствием это делают. А сейчас они жалуются на разжигание ненависти и сваливают это все на пропаганду. Куда лучшая пропаганда это зайти в их аккаунты социальных сетей и просто почитать, как они тебя ненавидят.

Прочитать, как они не отождествляют себя с народом – такой антинарод, ненавидят то, что чтят и ценят подавляющее большинство граждан. Это такая ненависть на показ. Кто бы говорил о разжигании и хейт спичах, действительно.

First of all, whatever one thinks of Nemtsov, murder is wrong, and, objectively speaking, it harms the authorities and society alike. Nemtsov was a predictable, familiar politician, who didn’t threaten anyone politically. He wasn’t rising any higher than his seat in the [Yaroslavl] regional parliament. It’s telling that—just minutes after news of this tragedy—opportunists like [Leonid] Volkov [a close ally of opposition leader Alexey Navalny] started with their PR almost immediately, looking for ways to exploit the death of their late colleague. They were on this literally minutes after the story broke. Compared with today’s oppositionists, Nemtsov’s older associates from SPS [his old political party], [Boris] Nadezhdin and [Irina] Khakamada, conducted themselves quite respectfully, simply calling on people to honor his memory.

Liberal society will never recognize that the authorities aren’t guilty of this murder—it’s not in their interests. The liberals need a new icon for their protests. Everyone’s forgotten [slain journalist Anna] Politkovskaya; Khodorkovsky has been pardoned; Pussy Riot is out of prison and nobody wants them except the West; half of the riot suspects from the May 6, 2012, case have been amnestied; [leftist activist Sergey] Udaltsov doesn’t make a good icon because he’s not one of theirs (he’s not a liberal); they still can’t manage to keep Navalny in prison; and so now they’ll make their “flag” out of Nemtsov.

When it comes to inciting hatred, liberal society is more to blame than anyone. Hate breeds hate. In recent years, they’ve openly declared, “I'll chew through the throats of those swine!” and “When we come to power, we’ll hang the lot of them!” On their social media accounts, liberals are constantly wishing death and disease on their opponents, writing op-eds about the joys of “learning how to hate.” And now they complain about inciting hatred and blame it all on [Kremlin] propaganda. For far better propaganda, have a look at their social media pages and just see how they hate you.

See how they don’t identify with the people at all. They’re an anti-people, hating what most Russians value and hold dear. This is a kind of hatred on public display. Talk about inciting people with hate speech!


По поводу виновности властей, разумеется отношение только одно – очевидный бред, который даже не все оппозиционеры озвучивают. Пусть покажут хотя бы одного человека во власти, который получил выгоду от этого убийства. Также абсолютно непонятен мотив – человек десять лет уже говорит об одном и том же, и тут внезапно это становится для власти невыносимым настолько, что его необходимо убрать? Это, конечно, отличная теория для впечатлительных либералов с первого и второго курса, но всерьёз может озвучивать только человек, который совсем не дорожит своей репутацией (или уже имеющий репутацию истерика).

Версия про риторику “пятой колонны” и движения “Антимайдан” как-то очень внезапно стало доминирующей версией у наших либералов (и бывшего посла США в России МакФола). Её преимущество в том, что она прямо не обвиняет власти в убийстве – и тем самым не отсекает хотя бы частично вменяемую публику, – но и также исходит из позиции, что убийство именно политическое и именно совершенное патриотами. Для либералов это очень удобная, если не идеальная, версия в данных условиях. Я лично не склонен всерьез рассматривать сценарий, в котором группа людей, насмотревшись Киселева, пошла убивать критиков власти – это что-то уровня чернушных фильмов о России для западных фестивалей. Более того, риторика отдельных либералов и их сторонников куда более агрессивная, чем у Киселёва (см. “перегрызём глотки этим скотам” и прочее) – и ничего, не стреляют.

When it comes to the authorities’ culpability for this murder, of course there’s only one response: it’s obvious nonsense that not even every oppositionist is willing to argue. I’d like to see them show me just one person in power who benefits from this murder. And the motive is also completely incomprehensible: Nemtsov had been saying the same things for the last ten years, and suddenly it became intolerable to the authorities and necessary to get rid of him? This, of course, is a wonderful theory if you’re an impressionable liberal in your freshman or sophomore year at college, but the only people who would argue this seriously are those who don’t value their own reputation (or they already have a reputation for being hysterical).

Blaming rhetoric about “the fifth column” and the Anti-Maidan movement has somehow and very suddenly become the dominant narrative among our liberals (as well as with former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul). Its advantage is that it doesn’t accuse the authorities of direct involvement in the murder (so it doesn’t alienate every last sane person), but it also promotes the idea that the murder was in fact political and likely the work of patriots. For liberals, this version of events is very convenient, if not ideal, in today’s circumstances. Personally, I’m not inclined to take seriously the idea that a group of people overdosed on [conservative TV personality] Dmitry Kiselyov and went out and killed a critic of the government. This kind of thinking is like something out of one of those grisly movies about Russia made for film festivals in the West. Moreover, the rhetoric of certain liberals and their supporters is much more aggressive than anything you’ll hear from Kiselyov (for example, see Navalny’s “I'll chew through the throats of those swine!”), and you don’t see them going on shooting sprees.


  • John H Newcomb

    None of these bloggers seem to think that the Kremlin may have wanted to stop Nemstov from revealing something rather damaging to their interests in his report on the Russian invasion of Ukraine? Even while the murder scene was being hosed down (some say prematurely), there were investigative teams combing through Nemtsov’s residence. What were they doing there? Seizing hard-drives, files, letters, notes? That report of evidence?
    – “Poroshenko: Boris Nemtsov Killed Over Evidence Linking Russia To Ukraine Conflict”:


    • Андрей Желтяк

      Nemtsov is nobody, he was dead as a politician long ago, he couldn’t reveal a thing. However, I see another coincidence. John Tefft as an ambassador of USA in Ukraine => Ukrainian journalist Gongadze was killed. John Tefft as an ambassador of USA in Russia => aging Russian party-goer and young girls lover was killed.

    • SS

      This is just Potroshenko fantasy

    • Dasha Ivanova

      >revealing something rather damaging to their interests in his report on the Russian invasion of Ukraine?

      Like what? What could be revealed – already was revealed long ago, we had articles with investigations about our weapons and soldiers in Ukraine (most of rebels still aren’t soldiers, but locals), interviews with their parents and even hacked governments mails.

      Kremlin doesn’t stop it all, it just doesn’t let it be shown on TV, it is effective enough. (Also, most of people suspect that Russia helps rebels, and endorse it.) Why Putin suddenly would decide to kill someone for this?

  • IK

    It’s so dumb to think that it’s Putin’s job, killing this guy just the day before meeting and in front of his own windows. More likely it’s a provocation.

    • Андрей Желтяк

      Haven’t you read any comic book?! Tyrants are already killing people just for fun.

    • Xosgul

      Dumb? Are you joking? This is Putler’s way of telling everyone that he will do what he wants when he wants. Boris was eliminated not because he was a threat toPutler, but because he insulted Putler. Boris should be lucky that he was allowed to perish quickly and not slowly and painfully by being poisoned with radioactive material.

  • An idea

    Try to think of any kind of evidence of Russian presence in Ukraine that american and european spy sattelites or agents failed to observe, but Nemtsov somehow did. Kind of tricky, right?

    • Tapasap

      it’s only tricky if you buy into every ounce of Kremlin propaganda.

      open your eyes to the evil leading your country to sad isolation.

      Nemstov’s words held far more power than the already-evil propaganda coming from the USA. His publication of the apparent support Russia sends to Eastern Ukraine would have been damning. May it see the light of day despite the Kremlin’s minions.

  • Boins

    Well, I believe there are plenty of historical examples of political assassinations driven by fanaticism, sense of “patriotic duty” and other similar motives which were not necessarily 100% logical given the circumstances at the time, so “who benefits” may be a blunt instrument when it comes to finding those responsible.

    If the vast majority believes a certain scenario is impossible…Well, it certainly helps someone who for some reason wants suspicions to fall elsewhere.


    Yeah, Trotsky said the same thing for decades, and he didn’t have any influense in Soviet Russia, and he had zero chances to win elections, and Stalin didn’t get any gain from his death.

    That means, Trotsky was not killed by Stalin, Trotsky was killed by CIA as a provocation against Stalin and Soviet Union. 100%

  • Jake Turk

    Notice how most of their bile is reserved for Navalny. By all accounts, the vast majority of Russians outside of Moscow and Piter have never even heard of him. Also, unlike Nemtsov’s consistent stance against xenophobia, Navalny is the “liberal” who signed this screed:

    There *IS* a viable and even popular anti-Putin opposition in Russia. Unfortunately, it’s people who think Putin is a Russia-bashing liberal softy who coddles Muslims, Jews, migrant workers, the West, etc. and is insincere about wiping Ukraine, gays, and liberals off the face of the Earth. As a civilized society, Russia is doomed. The only variable is how much damage it will inflict upon its neighbors from its hospice bed before expiring.

  • […] murder one of its own to frame the government and stimulate mass disorder is gaining new currency. Pro-Kremlin bloggers come close to making the same claim in painting the liberal opposition as more hateful than the […]

  • […] media outlets are in full shriek over Nemtsov’s murder, not even Putin’s opposition thinks he was responsible for it; nor does one of Nemtsov’s closest associates. Even if Putin were in the habit of killing his […]

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