Assassination a heavy blow to Russian unity

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-3-2 0:28:02

Former Russian deputy prime minister and opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was shot dead in Moscow Friday night, shocking Russia and the international community. Russian President Vladimir Putin quickly condemned the killing and ordered three law enforcement agencies to put together a task force to investigate the shooting and punish the murderers.

When reporting the killing, some mainstream Western media particularly stressed that Nemtsov was a fierce critic of Putin, implying that Putin was behind this murder. This incident has dealt a heavy blow to Russia's national unity and added pressure to the Russian government in dealing with thorny issues.

Political assassination is the most shameful act. It is an outdated strategy and rarely used in the modern and civilized world. Assassination of opposition leaders is especially senseless because the outrage triggered by such an act can only enhance cohesion of the opposition, rather than weakening it.

Compared with Western countries, opposition forces have less power in Russia. Nemtsov only had limited political achievements when he served as deputy prime minister in the Yeltsin era. He is most known for his pro-Western stance, including his agreement with the West over the Ukraine crisis. While the Russian government kept an eye on him, radical nationalists in the country viewed him as an enemy. Therefore, some anti-Western people claim Western intelligence agencies assassinated Nemtsov and made Putin the scapegoat, and others believe that Russian radicals were responsible.

If such an opposition leader with limited influence is assassinated out of political purposes, it would be a nightmare for all Russian politicians. This political culture will take away a sense of security from all people and make society hysterical. The murder of Nemtsov runs counter to common political logic and people feel odd about it.

Many countries expressed condemnation of the murder. The international community should support Russian authorities to investigate the case through legal means. In this process, the outside world should not speculate; rather they should respect Russia's investigations.

The assassination is not only a criminal case but also a calamity for Russian culture. At this time, perhaps some forces will make use of it out of political purposes. 

Chinese society is eager to see a stable Russia under Putin's reign and is shocked to see such cruel behavior in Moscow. We hope it is just an isolated case and not as grievous as has been depicted in the Western discourse.

Russia is at a difficult juncture. The US-led West wants to add burdens to it, making the Putin government and Russian society face severe tests. Whether Russia can withstand such a crisis will be determined by the stance of the country's general public.

Posted in: Editorial

blog comments powered by Disqus