It took the combined efforts of the FSB/SKR/MVD one week to make the first arrests in the case of the murder of Nemtsov: a group of 7 men, all from the North Caucasus were arrested. A sixth man killed himself with a hand grenade in Grozny when he was about to be arrested.
The Russians used the combination of the “Potok” HD camera monitoring network and intercepts of all the cellular phone network calls made from the city center that evening to zero in the car used by the killer to escape which soon lead to the entire group.
The authorities seem pretty confident that they got the right men. They are:
- Zaur Dadaev (Заур Дадаев) – the supposed killer who, according to unconfirmed reports, was the deputy commander of the Chechen special operations battalion “Vostok”.
- Shagit Gubashev (Шагит Губашев)
- Anzor Gubashev (Анзор Губашев)
- Khamzat Bakhaev (Хамзат Бахаев)
- Tamerlan Eskerkhanov (Тамерлан Эскерханов)
- Shagid Gubashev (Шагид Губашев)
- Ramzan Bakhaev (Рамзан Бахаев)
The last two have not, as of this moment, been charged with anything.
This is a big group of people and it appears that the security services have caught if not the full network or gang, then at least most of it.
According to breaking news from Moscow, the main suspect, Zaur Dadaev, has now confessed that he is the person who killed Nemtsov.
The rapid arrest of all these men is, of course, good news for the security services, but considering that Nemtsov was murdered in one of the most monitored and protected locations on Russia, it is hardly surprising. I had expected an arrest withing 48 hours, and I bet you the Russians knew who done it very soon, but they wanted to arrest the full network.
Whether these arrests will provide the real answers is, alas, very uncertain. We can, for example, remember the case of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya who was also initially blamed on Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov and which eventually lead to two trials (along with several more murders). Eventually, a group of Chechens was found guilty and sentenced to long jail terms, but the identity of the people who ordered that hit was never discovered.
I am very concerned that in this case again we will go along the same scenario. Chechens, especially those who served in the Chechen security forces, make ideal culprits as they can be presented either as criminal thugs, or religious fanatics, or both. Add to that the fact that Chechen mobsters have very close ties to the Ukrainian oligarchs and that Chechens are fighting on both sides of the conflict in the Donbass and you will immediately get the picture: it will be exceedingly hard to prove who ordered the murder and why.
So far my prediction that patsies will be found is proven correct and ideal culprits have been found. I just hope that this will be just the beginning of a real investigation and not the end of it.
UPDATE: Russian source now have indicated that the security services are looking another 4 men suspected of having provided the weapon used in the crime.