Today marks the third anniversary of Boris Nemtsov’s assassination outside the Kremlin, where over 30,000 organisers are expected to march in his memory.
The former first deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltsin, Nemstov is remembered for being among Vladimir Putin’s earliest and most outspoken critics. Around the time of his death in 2015, he had accused Mr Putin of illegally annexing Ukraine and embezzling up to $30 billion in funds meant for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Expect this act of memorial to conflate with protest, as the march comes days after Nemtsov’s ally and current opposition leader Alexei Navalny of the anti-corruption Progress Party was detained in Moscow for a suspended prison sentence. Despite these public demonstrations against him, Putin is anticipated to win the March 18 elections without contest.
Look for any anti-Kremlin behaviour stemming out of today’s rally to be met with detention and arrests, further clearing the path to Putin’s fourth term as president. However, that Putin seeks to reaffirm his rule by winning an election with high participation may be challenged by Navalny supporters’ boycotting the vote.
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Bibi contributes to our analysis of European affairs for The Daily Brief. She also serves as a copy editor for the publication.