Boris Nemtsov Funeral

•03/03/2015 • Leave a Comment

Russians came to pay their homage to one of their heroes. An almost never ending stream of friends and admirers solemnly filed past the casket of slain Russian opposition activist leader, Boris Yefimovich Nemtsov. Moscow’s Sakharov Centre (Сахаровский цент) hosted the goodbye to Boris Nemtsov today, 3 March 2015, that began at 10am and lasted into the afternoon. A steady stream of mourners filed past his casket as friends and opposition leaders offered eulogies to the slain activist.

Boris Nemtsov funeral 3 March 2015

(Sakharov Centre: Boris Nemtsov memorial viewing.)

His final tribute was marked by several international well-wishers being denied entry into Russia. Former UK Prime Minister John Major was allowed to attend the memorial, but several others were turned away. Latvian representative to the European Parliament Sandra Kalniete was turned back upon her arrival at Sheremetyevo airport, and the Speaker of the Polish Senate, Bogdan Borusewicz, was denied a visa.

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(Crowds outside the Boris Nemtsov funeral.)

Russian opposition activist Aleksei Navalny, who is in jail for political activities, asked the court to all him to attend the funeral. The court scheduled a hearing to consider his request on Wednesday, a day after the funeral. Navalny’s wife, Yulia, stood near members of the Nemtsov family. Nemtsov’s associate Konstantin Yankauskas is under house arrest, but he was allowed to attend the service.

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(Yulia Navalnaya, far left and Aleksei Kudrin, centre.)

Notably absent was anyone from the Putin administration. Mr. Putin sent Garry Minkh, his Duma (parliament) representative to extend condolences. There were several prominent former government officials in attendance, including Aleksei Kudrin, a Putin adviser and former Minister of the Treasury. Kudrin has moved toward the opposition in recent times.

Boris Nemtsov funeral 3 March 2015 Mikhail Prokho

(Mikhail Prokhorov at the funeral viewing of Boris Nemtsov.)

Russia’s third richest man, and owner of the Brooklyn Nets, Mikhail Prokhorov, spoke of Nemtsov’s dedication to democracy. Prokhorov is an opposition moderate and a former Russian presidential candidate.  Another former prime minister of Russia, Mikhail Kasyanov, has joined the opposition and spoke at the memorial. Kasyanov told those gathered that Nemtsov had “become an enemy for many people. He became an enemy because he spoke the truth.”

Boris Nemtsov funeral 3 March 2015 h One sensed that many of those present were not only there to remember a friend, but were making a statement. Several of the speakers laid the blame for Nemtsov’s death on the environment of intense nationalism encouraged by the government.

US Ambassador to Russia, John Tefft represented the United States.  The scene of the memorial viewing was the Sakharov Centre, named for famed dissident Andrei Sakharov. The Kremlin has named the centre as a “foreign agent” under new laws meant to silence opposition to the Putin government.

The circumstances surrounding Nemtsov’s cold-blooded murder remain a mystery. He was gunned down while walking on a bridge near Red Square. Oddly, surveillance cameras had been turned off “for repairs,” and a street sweeping truck appeared to have stopped just long enough to block remaining cameras just as the shooting took place. Immediately following the murder, President Putin took over the investigation personally as police were raiding Nemtsov’s home. Computers and boxes of documents were confiscated.

Following the viewing memorial, funeral services and Nemtsov’s burial was conducted at Moscow’s Novo-Kuntsevskoye (Troyekurovskoye) cemetery, the same resting place where murdered journalist Anna Politkovskayta was buried in 2006. The mother of former Russian president Boris Yeltsin is also buried there.

It was the birthday of Nemtsov’s mother; She turned 88 on the day of her son’s funeral.

Boris Nemtsov Memorial March Draws Huge Numbers

•02/03/2015 • Leave a Comment

Sunday’s memorial march for Boris Nemtsov was a success for the opposition, prompting the government to claim that only five to seven thousand people showed up to march in Moscow. A few hours later the police admitted that the original number had come from the first wave of marchers.

The main rally started about two hours late due to everyone exiting Metro stations for the rally were required to go through x-ray screening, just like in airports. The march got off to a very late start as police required everyone exiting the Metro stations to go thru x-ray screening, just like at airports, before they could enter the march lines, a fact verified by police and overhead photo drones.

(photo: Ilya Varlamov)

(photo: Ilya Varlamov)

Moscow police revised their estimate a few hours later, claiming 21,000 persons had made it though the security inspection. However later in the evening, police contacted media saying that they were revising numbers again, and at this writing those new numbers are not available.

(photo: Ilya Varlamov)

(photo: Ilya Varlamov)

The BBC estimated the crowd at nearly 100,000 and Aljazeera Network counted approximately 70,000+. Trusted photographer Ilya Varlamov, with his overhead drone photo technology, says software estimates 51,600 of just the second phase of the march.

(photo: Ilya Varlamov)

(photo: Ilya Varlamov)

Thousands also marched in other Russian cities, many carrying blue and gold Ukrainian flags. The rally in Saint Petersburg was attended by approximately 10,000 marchers. Protesters across the nation carried flowers, and many tied black ribbons atop the Russian flags they carried.

Boris Nemtsov memorial march Ilya Varlamov d

(photo: Ilya Varlamov)

Despite light rain in both Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the marches were somber evens for the most part. Some smaller groups among the marchers shouted chants, but the most constant noise was the sound of overhead police helicopters. Television and radio crews weaved through the crowd, looking for familiar faces to interview.

(Newcaster TV/Open Russia)

(Newcaster TV/Open Russia)

Just two days prior to his murder, Nemtsov has been scheduled to lead a protest rally in Moscow. The original petition for by organizers was to rally against the Putin governments role in the Ukraine war, against ongoing government corruption, and to protest rising inflation brought on by the governments “reverse sanctions” which ban import of Western food products. Organizers changed the focus of the rally after Nemtsov’s murder.

Boris Nemtsov memorial march Ilya Varlamov f

(photo: Ilya Varlamov)


The police presence was very high but the march was peaceful, at times even taking on somber tones. Police so far are reporting 21 arrests, with 20 youth nationalists detained for attempting to harass older persons in the crowd. One other arrest has been reported: Oleksiy Goncharenko, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament in Kyiv (Kiev), was arrested after he was recognized by police.

Ukrainian parliament member Oleksiy Goncharenko was at the Moscow rally honouring Boris Nemtsov.

Ukrainian parliament member Oleksiy Goncharenko was at the Moscow rally honouring Boris Nemtsov.

Goncharenko claimed that he was picked out of the crowd because of his shirt, which had a photo of Nemtsov with the phrase “Heroes Never Die!” Russian police say that investigators may hold the parliamentarian on murder charges stemming from a deadly fire that took place in Odessa (Ukraine) during a pro-Russian protest last year.

Boris Nemtsov Murdered: A Hit on Russia’s Opposition

•28/02/2015 • 2 Comments

Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Boris Nemtsov c

Boris Yefimovich Nemtsov, outspoken Putin critic and leader of the People’s Freedom opposition party has been murdered in Moscow. According to the prosecutor’s office, Nemtsov was walking across a bridge over the Moscow river, just steps from the Kremlin, when a white car stopped and shots rang out.

Investigators say that Nemtsov was shot in the head, heart, stomach, and liver, with major organs possibly pointing to a professional hit. Investigators have confirmed that he was killed instantly when struck in the heart.

Boris Nemtsov e

“I want to tell you that in Russia – panic. The panic that people sweep products from the shelves. The panic that it is impossible to buy currency in exchange. The panic that people fired from their jobs. The fact that the government quietly began preparing for the suppression of mass protests “-Boris Nemtsov on Gromadska TV, 18 December 2014.

Boris Nemtsov killed 27 Feb 2015

The murder took place late on Friday evening on the bridge just behind St Basil’s Cathedral, near the edge of Red Square. He was walking with a companion, an (as yet) unidentified female from Kyiv (Kiev). Eyewitnesses noted the license plate of the car as it sped off, but police have not yet found the vehicle. No one else was hurt. Nemtsov was 55 years old, and is survived by his wife and four children.

Boris Nemtsov killed 27 Feb 2015 b

Nemtsov has been a vocal critic of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and of Russia’s proxy war in Eastern Ukraine. He was scheduled to lead a major opposition rally in the centre of Moscow this Sunday, the first of March. Police had already jailed the other scheduled protest leader, Aleksi Navalny.

Boris Nemtsov Grigoriy Yavlinskiy Aleksei Navalniy 2011

2011 Moscow protest: L-R: Boris Nemtsov, Grigoriy Yavlinskiy, Aleksei Navalny.

Nemtsov had served Russia as deputy prime minister during the 1990s in the Boris Yeltsin government. After leaving office he had authored several reports linking Putin to Russia’s organized crime groups. His status, and likeability, had made him one of the country’s more popular among opposition leaders.

Boris Nemtsov Russia Ukraine without Putin 15 March 2014

Nemtsov, seen at the front looking at a mobile phone while co-leading a protest on 15 March 2014 to protest the annexation of Crimea and the war in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an executive order placing himself at the head of the investigation, and ordered the respective leaders of the Investigative Committee, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Federal Security Service to take over management of the homicide investigation. In the hours following the murder, police raided Nemtsov’s home and confiscated boxes of documents and computers.

Putin and Nemtsov in the Kremlin,  5 Dec 2000. (Photo: Kremlin presidential press office.)

Putin and Nemtsov in the Kremlin, 5 Dec 2000. (Photo: Kremlin presidential press office.)

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, called the murder a “pure provocation.” He said that Mr. Putin had extended condolences to the Nemtsov family. Peskov’s remarks echoed those of Mr. Putin, who himself wasted no time in suggesting that what he termed as a “brutal murder” may have been the work of outside forces to malign the Kremlin’s reputation.

Boris Nemtsov 2009 Obama Leonid Gozman, Nemtsov, Gennady Zyuganov, Yelena Mizulina, Sergei Mitrokhin

Moscow meeting at the US Embassy in 2009 with president Obama: L-R: Leonid Gozman, Boris Nemtsov, Gennady Zyuganov, Yelena Mizulina, Sergei Mitrokhin.

From Washington, USA president Barack Obama challenged Russia to do a “prompt, impartial and transparent” investigation to bring Nemtsov’s killers to justice. In his remarks Obama recalled his 2009 meeting with Russian opposition leaders in Moscow. Obama eulogized Nemtsov as a “tireless advocate” for Russia. Obama concluded by saying that the Russian people had “lost one of the most dedicated and eloquent defenders of their rights.”

In reference to his numerous arrests by the Putin government for political activities, the international group Amnesty International has called him a “prisoner of conscience.” 

Boris Nemtsov 24 Dec 2011

Boris Nemtsov speaking at a Moscow protest rally on 24 Dec 2011.

Nemtsov was one of the original promoters of the “Strategy 31 (Стратегия-31) rallies, a series of peaceful rallies meant to remind Russians of their constitutional right to free assemply, as enshrined by Article 31 of the Russian Constitution. Protests are scheduled in several cities across Russia on the 31st of every month with 31 days. Despite the constitutional guarantee, the government has found reasons to deem each “31” rally to be illegal. The largest “Strategy 31″ rally was attended by some 2,000 persons on the 31st of May 2010. Over a hundred participants were arrested during that peaceful assembly.


Putting Russia In Its Place

•27/02/2015 • Leave a Comment

Menduza quiz

We must admit that the name is quite catchy, “Lets Put Russia In Its Place” will evoke emotions to be sure. Relax, it is just a quiz to test your knowledge about how Russia ranks as compared with other nations around the world.

Created by the Menduza Project, this quiz is about the important stuff: who drinks the most beer, who watches the most television, etc. Actually, it is quite entertaining.

For the record, your esteemed Mendeleyev Journal editors scored a disappointing 8 out of 12. Not bad, but then again, not that great either.

So, try it for yourself!

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Ukraine Bids Farewell to Russia

•25/02/2015 • Leave a Comment

A farewell to Russia

By Vitaly Portnikov

Russia may have won Crimea but it has lost Ukraine, writes Vitaly Portnikov. At the same time, Ukraine has gained a whole world of sympathetic people who support the country in its fight for something that should in fact be just as much a necessity for Russia too: freedom.

In the cafés, in the shops, on the streets of Kyiv everyone is asking the one question that matters in one particular way: will there be war? No one can quite finish the question: will there be war with Russia? That such a thing could even be: a war between Ukraine and Russia.

It was a Jewish custom to read a memorial prayer for relatives who converted to other faiths. We read such a prayer for you today, because you have converted to the faith of hatred toward those whom so recently you called brothers.

You have lost us. We have gained in return a whole world of sympathetic people who support us in our fight for freedom – not only our freedom, but your freedom as well, because you need freedom too, and if you have not yet realized this, you will soon enough. We have understood who was really our friend and our brother this whole time, and who simply pretended to be in the hope of sooner or later placing the double-eagled yoke over our neck.

Forgive us. We have a lot of work to do. We will be busy building a new land, in place of the old one, destroyed with your help. We have to monitor our own government so that it does not become a refuge for crooks, the sort of people who until recently ruled us and still rule you. We have to find a way to build a strong army, which will protect us from possible aggressors. We now know that we are not surrounded only by friends, and that such an army will be necessary. In a word: much to do, no time for Russia.

Editors note: this is a powerful and moving article. Please read in its entirety at this link.

New Series on the Romanov Dynasty

•24/02/2015 • Leave a Comment

We are developing a new series on the history of the Romanov dynasty, and invite our readers to enjoy that in our Art, Culture and History section. That link is found here.

Russian holidays in February

•23/02/2015 • Leave a Comment

Sunday (22 Feb), was Forgiveness Sunday. As part of our Orthodox faith, we speak to everyone we meet in person that we were sorry for any slights and bad thoughts/deeds over the past year, and asked them to forgive us. This is done to everyone, not just those you remember offending.

Monday, 23 February is “Man’s Day” in Russia.

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Technically it is Day of the Defenders of the Fatherland (Soldiers/Veterans day).

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Over the years, and especially in Eastern Europe where most countries have a universal draft, it has kind of morphed in to a celebration of all men, regardless of whether they served in the military.


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