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Category Archives: Europe
Mariano Rajoy hits back over accusation that Spain and Portugal deliberately tried to topple Syriza administration in Athens
Greece’s anti-austerity government has denied that it sees Europe through the prism of “hostile and friendly countries” as the Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy hit back at accusations that Spain and Portugal had deliberately tried to topple the new leftist-led administration.
The war of words erupted when Greek premier Alexis Tsipras attacked the sabotage tactics that had, he said, been employed by Lisbon and Madrid in an effort to scupper the chances of a successful end to the negotiations over the eurozone’s extension of the Greek bailout programme.
We are not responsible for the frustration generated by the radical Greek left
Mood of quiet dismay as crowds mourn Vladimir Putin’s adversary who was gunned down near the Kremlin on Friday
They came with placards and plaintive cries of “shame” – a vast column of mourners snaking through central Moscow to commemorate the latest Russian opposition figure to meet a wretched fate.
But as tens of thousands trudged through the bone-chilling Moscow drizzle to pay their last respects to Boris Nemtsov, the adversary of Vladimir Putin, gunned down a stone’s throw from the Kremlin on Friday night, the mood was more one of quiet dismay rather than explosive anger.
Thousands are expected to take to the streets in memory of the former deputy prime minister and vehement critic of Vladimir Putin’s rule
More on Alexei Goncharenko (see 13.59). AFP reports that the Ukrainian politician said he was detained by Russian police ahead of the Moscow march. He wrote on Fracebook:
Police have detained me. I did not shout anything, did not carry any banners or flags – they simply detained me over the T-shirt.
John Kerry has been speaking about the Nemtsov murder. Talking to ABC’s This Week, the US secretary of state said his country wanted to see a “thorough, transparent, real investigation” into the killing.
Reuters quotes him as saying:
The bottom line is we hope there will be a thorough, transparent, real investigation, not just of who actually fired the shots but who if anyone may have ordered or instructed or been behind this.
Another photo from the Moscow march.
Another update from Shaun Walker:
Reports are coming in that Ukrainian MP Alexei Goncharenko has been arrested at the Moscow march. He may be accused as part of a criminal investigation into the events in Odessa on 2 May last year when when the building they were in was set on fire. Russia has called the events a deliberate massacre.
Shaun Walker sends the news that the investigative committee set up to look into Nemtsov’s death has offered a reward of 3 million roubles (about £31,500) for information about his killers.
Someone on the Moscow march holding a sign saying, “‘Je suis Boris Nemtsov”, a form of words also cropping up on Twitter.
As a sort of interim summary, here’s a few paragraphs from the latest Reuters story on the Moscow march:
Holding placards declaring “I am not afraid”, thousands of Russians marched in Moscow on Sunday in memory of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, whose murder has widened a split in society that some say could threaten Russia’s future.
Families, the old and young walked slowly, with many carrying portraits of Nemtsov, an opposition politician and former deputy prime minister who was shot dead while walking home from a restaurant in central Moscow on Friday night.
A photograph from the Ekaterinburg protests.
A first word on potential numbers at the Moscow rally, from Shaun Walker:
The police say around 7,000 people are at the rally, however official numbers in Russia often appear smaller than the reality. Former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov, one of the leaders of the rally, says he believes there are at least 50,000 people present.
I think this killing has exploded the minds of people, and forced people to rethink the reality in which we live. The tragic death of Boris should be a turning point in our society, for those people who are not indifferent to what is happening in our country, and this of course is mainly the middle class, who are the driving force of what happens in our country.
To start with they should rethink for themselves what is happening here, and then take their opinions to the rest of the country. I am certain that the situation will change iwhtin the next few months. Changes are inevitable.
And another update from Shaun Walker:
In a TV interview, Nemtsov’s friend and political partner, Ilya Yashin, says Nemtsov was told to get bodyguards on many occasions but rejected the idea, saying if people wanted to kill him, bodyguards would not help.
Two more photos from Moscow, of the march and of the police presence.
News of the Moscow march from Shaun Walker, who passed on this tweeted photo:
All those coming to the rally have to pass through metal detectors, and police are lining the route of the march. This is a photograph of a queue to get in.
Очередь на рамки pic.twitter.com/eKYnJt8w7G
Marina Litvinenko, the widow of Alexander Litvinenko, who was killed in London by radiation poisoning allegedly administered by agents of the Russian state, has described the death of Nemtsov “absolutely devastating”.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House programme, she said she believed the shooting was linked to her husband’s poisoning:
It’s a different way to kill a person, but a way to present that anybody who will try to say something against us will be killed.
Particularly after the war with Ukraine, the atmosphere in Russia is very aggressive. When you see images saying he is an enemy of Russia, Russian people will hate him…
All what happened in Russia, it’s the responsibility of this government and Mr Putin, he built this country that became centre of huge conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and a big problem with all west, and it’s the full responsibility of this person and his government.
The first photos of the Moscow protest are coming through.
Shaun Walker sends this:
A number of smaller rallies are being held in cities across Russia. in Voronezh, local activists report “anti-Maidan” guys showed up and threw green dye at the them.
Ukraine president Poroshenko has claimed Nemtsov was about to prove Russian involvement in Ukraine and was killed because of that, although here people sceptical about that version – there was enough info in the public domain about Russian involvement already, the government just ignores it.
A Russian news website, Sputnik News, is carrying a video it says shows the killer or killers approaching Nemtsov on the Bolshoi Moskvoretsky bridge.
The grainy and long-distance CCTV footage unearthed by the pro-Kremlin website shows Nemtsov and the woman he was waling with on the bridge, it says. A snowplow catches up with them, and they are hidden from camera view. The story adds:
A moment later a man, possibly the killer, is seen running out from behind the snowplow and jumps into the waiting car. Just how he got on the bridge is hard to say though. It looks like the murder was carefully planned in advance.
My colleague Shaun Walker, who is also following the march, points me to this blog-based analysis by Russia expert Dr Mark Galeotti. Here’s a snippet:
My working hypothesis is that Nemtsov was killed by some murderous mavericks, not government agents, nor opposition fanatics. But the reason they felt obliged to go and gun down a frankly past-his-peak anti-government figure is highly likely to be precisely because of the increasingly toxic political climate that clearly is a product of Kremlin agency, in which people like Nemtsov are portrayed as Russophobic minions of the West, enemies of Russia’s people, culture, values and interests.
So, to loop things round, Putin is guilty, I suspect – and all the caveats about the lack of hard evidence yet – the same way that tobacco companies are considered guilty of cancer deaths after they may have known about the risks, or any hate-speaker may be when some unhinged acolytes take their sentiments and decide to turn them into bloody action.
Alec Luhn, who is among the many reporters with the march, tweets this photo of another of the marches taking place today, in Ekaterinburg.
For some fascinating background, here is a 1997 piece about Nemtsov by the BBC’s Angus Roxburgh, detailing the then-upcoming politician with a reputation for battling corruption and cronyism. As Roxburg says in the report:
The danger is, he may have peaked too early. His reforming zeal is bound to earn him enemies.
Thousands of people are expected to march through central Moscow to commemorate Boris Nemtsov, a high-profile and vocal critic of the rule of Vladimir Putin, who was shot dead near the Kremlin late on Friday.
The charismatic 55-year-old, who was Russia’s deputy prime minister under the rule of Boris Yeltsin, was killed with four bullets to his back on a bridge in the shadow of the Kremlin’s towers.
Thousands take to the streets in Moscow in memory of Boris Nemtsov, the former deputy prime minister and vehement critic of Vladimir Putin’s rule. Protesters held signs bearing Nemtsov’s face and brought flowers to the site where he was shot dead on Sa…
Russian politician who fell out of favour with the Kremlin and opposed expansionist policies Continue reading…
Protesters to head for Moscow bridge in shadow of Kremlin where politician was gunned down, as Putin vows to punish killers Continue reading…
Sergiy Nikolayev from Ukrainian daily Segodnya died in shelling in east of country as clashes continue despite truce Continue reading…
Approval ratings for radical left party soar despite U-turns forced in debt talks and collapse of tax collection, but the people still expect the government to deliver Continue reading…
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Moscow residents pay their respects by laying flowers and lighting candles on Saturday, after Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was shot dead near the Kremlin in central Moscow on Friday. Nemtsov was an outspoken critic of the Russian preside…
The arrested 18-year-old is reportedly the younger brother of Copenhagen gunman Omar el-Hussein
A Danish court has detained a man suspected of providing a bulletproof jacket and a knife to the gunman who killed two people in attacks in Copenhagen earlier this month.
The 18-year-old man is reportedly the younger brother of Omar el-Hussein, who killed a Danish filmmaker attending a free speech event in Copenhagen on 14 February. He cannot be named under a court order.