Boris Nemtsov: Tens of thousands march in Moscow.

Tens of Thousands March in Moscow to Remember Murdered Putin Critic

Tens of Thousands March in Moscow to Remember Murdered Putin Critic

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March 1 2015 4:08 PM

Tens of Thousands March in Moscow to Remember Murdered Putin Critic

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Russia's opposition supporters take part in a march in memory of murdered Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov in central Moscow on March 1, 2015.

Photo by Alexander Utkin/AFP/Getty Images

“I am not afraid,” “propaganda kills,” and “I am Boris Nemtsov” were just some of the banners that tens of thousands of people carried through the streets of downtown Moscow on Sunday to remember murdered opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was gunned down Friday night near the Kremlin. Many in the crowd also carried the Russian flag and a picture of Nemtsov as they marched toward the spot where he was killed, in what was the highest-profile political murder in more than a decade. “The mood was more one of quiet dismay rather than explosive anger,” notes the Guardian.

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Russia's opposition supporters carry a banner bearing a portrait of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov and reading “heroes never die.”

Photo by Sergei Gapon/AFP/Getty Images

The memorial march took the place of the opposition rally that was originally scheduled for Sunday but was called off after Nemtsov’s murder. “Although the crowds were larger than recent opposition protests, few in attendance thought that it was the beginning of a new push against the Kremlin,” notes the Washington Post. “Instead, many said that the slaying was a frightening sign that those who disagree with Russia’s aggressive mainstream risk their lives for saying so publicly.”

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People march in memory of Russian opposition leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov on March 1, 2015 in central Moscow.

Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images

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Many in the crowd were angry that Putin’s recent policies have created a “fervently nationalist mood,” as the BBC puts it, that labels anyone who disagrees with the Kremlin as a traitor. “If we can stop the campaign of hate that's being directed at the opposition, then we have a chance to change Russia. If not, then we face the prospect of mass civil conflict,” an opposition leader told Reuters. There is no official figure on turnout and estimates range from 16,000 to 70,000.

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People lay flowers in memory of murdered Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov in Vilnius on March 1, 2015.

Photo by Petras Malukas/AFP/Getty Images

Nemtsov’s murder was reportedly caught by surveillance cameras, and the images appear to reinforce the idea that it was carried out by professional assassins. The Telegraph explains:

The grainy video, recorded from the other side of the Moskva River and broadcast by the Moscow city government television station, contradicts earlier reports that Nemtsov was killed by assailants shooting from a passing vehicle.
Instead, the assassin apparently hid in a stairwell leading off down from bridge. As Nemtsov passed, the killer emerged and began shooting at Nemtsov’s back, killing him with four pistol rounds. He then hurriedly climbed into an arriving getaway car, and was driven away.
“You would have needed to coordinate very closely between Nemtsov and the car … It is clear that it was a very sophisticated and professional killing,” said Andrey Soldatov, a Russian security expert. Up to 15 people working in three teams could have been involved, he said.
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A young woman stands near Moskvoretskiy Bridge with a placard which says "Struggle" as people march in memory of Russian opposition leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov on March 1, 2015 in central Moscow.

Photo by Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.