Within hours of the murder of Boris Nemtsov in downtown Moscow, the Western media are beginning to spin his tragic and untimely death as a political story out of an old James Bond flick, with Putin-the-villain masterminding the murder of his most dangerous political rival.
In Canada, the CBC is already putting a spin on Nemtsov’s murder by presenting him as a significant political figure in today’s Russia, specifically as a significant opponent of Putin’s. Nothing could be further from the truth, but how is the Canadian public to know that?
The BBC, in contrast to its Canadian counterpart, has chosen to set aside all subtlety and sense, making believe that, had he lived, Nemtsov might have had some influence or effect on Russia’s policy on Ukraine. Such is the sensationalism the BBC currently goes in for that, in its brief item reporting his death, the venerable Beeb even paraphrases Nemtsov himself claiming in a recent interview that he feared “Mr Putin would have him killed because of his opposition to the war in Ukraine.”
Sadly, such posturing and such acts of self-inflation, the self-inflation of one’s political importance that is, are part of the all too common delusions (or simply deceptive self-representations) of Russian liberals, whose popularity at home is at an all-time low.
For a more sensible response to Boris Nemtsov’s death, I recommend Dimitry Babich’s interview with RT. Babich’s comments and observations carry the weight of objective, impartial analysis: as a member of the European Leadership Network, he can, after all, hardly be accused of being a Kremlin hand.
And, as Babich says, what a gift to Putin haters Nemtsov’s murder is. Apart from Nemtsov’s death being a tragedy for his family and closest friends, it’s also a tragedy for the small contingent of Russian liberals, whose leaders have all cultivated rather too close ties with the oligarchs. Several of them have been murdered in the past few years, and one can’t help but think they should have learned this key lesson from the Italians by now: stay away from the mafia capos if you want to live long.
As for those who might have noted the extraordinarily convenient timing of Boris Nemtsov’s murder for NATO’s propaganda needs, there’s this second piece of news from Russia, issued earlier today, to consider. Only hours before someone killed Boris Nemtsov in the middle of Moscow, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich had just announced that there are no political obstacles to letting Chinese investors have more than a 50% stake in Russia’s oil and gas fields (excluding the Arctic continental shelf).
Russia’s clearly laying the ground for an alliance with China the extent and the depth of which Washington (and Pentagon) neocons never really expected — and an alliance the West cannot hope to beat even by provoking a nuclear war. To use Al Jazeera’s terminology for a moment: desperation can make the Empire act against its own best interests and drive it to destroy itself rather than loosen its grip on global power gracefully and with a measure of good sense. Let us hope, therefore, that saner and more sober Washington and EU heads will prevail.
For the RT interview with Dimitry Babich, see here.