Russia: Navalny ‘Not Frightened’ By Nemtsov Murder

Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny walked free from a Moscow detention center today vowing not to be daunted by the recent murder of his ally, fellow Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov.

Alexei NavalnyNavalny had completed a 15-day sentence for distributing pamphlets at a Moscow metro station to promote an opposition rally planned for March 1. On Feb. 27, while Navalny was in custody, Nemtsov was shot to death.

The murder gave the march an added sense of somber significance, with tens of thousands turning out to hold up placards showing Nemtsov’s face and banners saying: “I am not afraid”.

Navalny told reporters as he left the detention facility: "There will be no let-up in our efforts, we will give up nothing. This act of terror has not achieved its goal in this sense."

"I am not frightened and I am sure my associates are not frightened either," he added.

Navalny said he would stop at home before visiting Nemtsov’s grave. According to the Guardian, a court had refused Navalny's request to leave the detention center for Nemtsov’s funeral.

In recent years Navalny and Nemtsov had both become leaders of street protests against Russian president Vladimir Putin. Nemtsov served as the deputy prime minister in the 1990s before becoming a prominent opposition figure and fierce Putin critic. He was shot four times in the back as he walked with his girlfriend in Moscow, close to the Kremlin. 

Many have called Nemtsov’s murder a political assassination. On his blog, Navalny claims that Nemtsov “was killed by members of a government (intelligence) or pro-government organization on orders from the political leadership of the country (including Vladimir Putin).”

Putin said in a speech to officials that Nemtsov’s death was a “shame and tragedy”. The Kremlin denies involvement in the murder.