Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke for over three hours on a number of domestic and international issues, including the shocking murder of opposition leader Boris Nemstov in February.
The murder, Putin said, was “tragic and shameful” “[Nemtsov] was sharply critical of government, and me – but we had friendly relations.”
Nemtsov was shot on February 27th while walking along a bridge in Moscow. He was set to lead a massive protest against the government in a matter of days. The bridge on which he was shot overlooks the Kremlin.
Authorities arrested a group of Chechen men for the killing on what is now being called ‘Nemstov bridge,’ but those close to Nemstov are sceptical that those charged with the crime organised it themselves.
“The trigger man will be blamed, while those who actually ordered the killing will go free,” Ilya Yashin, co-founder of Mr Nemtsov’s party, said in March.
Additionally, one of the men charged with killing Nemstov claims that he was kidnapped from his home in Ingushetia for two days before he knew what was going on.
“On the fifth of March I was kidnapped by unknown persons. I do not know where I was, in what place I was being held. Only on the seventh [of March] did I learn that about the Investigation Committee ruling and that I had been detained,” Dadaev said according to Russian news service Interfax . “Up to that time, I was told what to say and how to say it.”
All of that said, analysts like Eurasia Group’s Ian Bremmer think it’s “extremely unlikely” that Putin ordered the killing himself.
“He’s also dealing with a significant internal challenge: It’s extremely unlikely he ordered Nemtsov’s killing, but it was clearly an inside job,” Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, told Business Insider. “Dealing with that is surely his top priority.”
Back to Putin’s press conference. As he was speaking the news broke that a Ukrainian journalist, Oles Buzina, had been killed by two men. Putin took that as an opportunity to criticise Ukraine’s “democratic” government which is not investigating political murders like Russia‘s government.