Two suspects, zero visibility

According to Ekho Moskvy, two men from the Northern Caucasus are suspected of being the hitmen in the murder of Boris Nemtsov and have been detained. The radio station cites an identified source saying the killers’ “biological material” has been found in “the car” (presumably the abandoned car found near Ordynka) and that data from mobile operators and street cameras have helped track them down.

Which does not mean much to me, except that for the time being, the Islamic/North-Caucasian connection is emerging at the number one hypothesis for public consumption. With near-zero verifiable information on the two men’s alleged involvement, they might as well be randomly selected individuals of North Caucasian heritage.


  1. Obviously, they’re patsies or hired by someone in government or the ultra-nationalists, just like the Chechen fighters in east Ukraine. Not that Russian TV will explore this theme too deeply.

    So it looks like the Kremlin blame game is going for #1 on my list. Will the Kremlin associate them with ISIS or the Charlie Hebdo attacks? Obviously, the ISIS connection makes no sense. Why target Putin’s leading opponent and not Putin himself, given he’s Assad’s best friend. Remote possibility mentioned on Twitter: Putin will use this to take down Kadyrov, but personally I can’t see that happening.

    #2 is also still a possibility, though less likely. Since Chechens are associated with gangland, the authorities could try to smear Nemtsov by saying this was a shady business deal gone wrong.

    • They’ve detained two more people, all of them ethnic Chechens born and reared in Ingushetia. A fifth suspect has reportedly blown himself up with a hand grenade in Grozny. Moscow is keeping all doors open except #3: it could still be the CIA.

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