Boris Nemtsov's daughter says probe into her dissident father's murder 'blocked for political reasons'
Every day on a Moscow bridge, a small group of supporters still keep a vigil for Boris Nemtsov. A little more than a year ago, on that same spot, the Russian opposition leader was shot dead.
After an investigation, police arrested five men from Chechnya. They will face trial later this year as suspected contract killers. But many don't believe the case is closed.
Zhanna Nemtsova is Boris Nemtsov's daughter. She left Russia after threats to her own life and is now a journalist working in Germany.
Helen Mann: You still have many questions about who murdered your father. What is outstanding for you?
Zhanna Nemtsova: The problem with the investigation: it is blocked. I think now it is blocked for political reasons. So high-ranking politicians put pressure on the investigative team not to investigate it thoroughly and objectively. I can only cite Vladimir Putin, who said just after the assassination, he said "I take this investigation under my personal control." So when he said it, he took the responsibility for the quality of this investigation and the quality is awful. The second thing is that I filed lots of publications. I wanted to question Ramzan Kadyrov, the ruler of Chechnya, because I understand Chechnya is a state in a state — so it's a totalitarian state in Russia.
HM: And we should make clear, Kadyrov is a close ally of Mr. Putin.
ZN: He is very loyal to Putin. Once he said, "I'm a soldier of Putin. He's my commander. If he asks me to do anything, I will do anything for him." I would like to question him, to interrogate him and his closest allies. Because you know it's a clan system. Everybody is linked together.
HM: But he admits he knows those people, he denies links to your father's murder and he actually has suggested that your supporters and you look closer to home. What do you think you mean by that?
He thought very seriously about imprisonment and he was ready to take this risk. But he had never thought about being killed. Of course, I believe that it would have been better for him if he had left Russia.- Zhanna Nemtsova on her late father, Boris Nemtsov
HM: I want to get back to what happened to your father and what you think the motive was and also the timing. Why was he killed when he was and, of course, why?
ZN: I believe that was a politically-motivated assassination. It's of course a very high-profile assassination for modern Russia. So I think the only motive is a political motive and there is no one thing. He was killed because he wanted to publish a report on the Ukraine. Because of his general activities as the leader of the opposition. He adhered to his principles. He was the most outspoken critic of Putin and his system. He was the author for many anti-corruption reports. He got elected in the regional parliament of Yaroslavl Oblast region and out of there he could run for the State Duma and he would have won, I believe. So he was the most-recognized opposition leader in Russia.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.