Gidon Kremer: On the murder of Boris Nemtsov

Gidon Kremer: On the murder of Boris Nemtsov


norman lebrecht

February 28, 2015

‘No one can remain indifferent at this tragic hour. No one can stay silent. The conscience of every decent person who loves both Russia and freedom must raise their voice in response to this blatant crime.


‘The tragedy has unfolded as we knew it might. This death is neither ‘accidental’, nor is it a ‘provocation’.


‘The murder of Boris Nemtsov, a respected politician, was clearly ordered by someone, and is a culmination of sorts – it reflects an atmosphere which has reached fever pitch in our society. A society starved of pure air, pumped full of fear and jingoism, where good intentions have been driven into a dead-end.


‘In a civilized society, everyone is entitled to a point of view or a position. But there is one unambiguous fact: a country where the majority of the population treats lies and political murders – whether solved or unsolved, actual or symbolic – as part of the daily grind, and has found itself on the edge of moral collapse, cannot command respect. No matter how hard it advertises its historic grandeur.


‘A country does not stand on the shoulders of a single man. Every one of us is a citizen of his homeland, and every one of us is responsible for the state of this land. And here, then, is your answer to the eternal question: ‘What must be done?’


‘Switch off the brainwashing TV screens. Instead, take look at yourself. Follow your conscience – do not try to run from it. Do not fool yourself into thinking that there is no place, no role for conscience in our lives anymore.


‘There is nothing more valuable than a human life. The death of Boris Nemtsov rests not only on those who were ordered to kill him. His fate casts a shadow on all those who failed to protect him.


Gidon Kremer, musician’




  • Andrew Zaplatynsky says:

    I am sure that Gergiev, Netrebko, and Bashmet will collaborate on a suitable memorial concert, along some appropriate and consoling remarks from President Putin.

  • Nathaniel says:

    Let’s all not be to quick in judging this event. Why point at Putin? This would be the most stupid thing to even consider for him. This is the perfect event for the US/EU/Porosjenko to put the blaming finger at Putin and destabalize Russia internally. Just saying…. I’m not choosing sides here but don’t follow the sentiments too blindly.

    • V.Lind says:

      Oh, let’s not. Just coincidental that if Putin doesn’t like you, you disappear…Boris Berezovsky, two years ago, Alexander Litvinenko and Anna Politkovskaya a few years before that, Paul Klebnikov…among others murdered overtly or mysteriously.

      Kremer’s statement is eloquent and courageous. Let’s hope it is not dangerous.

    • Brian Hughes says:

      You seem to imply that Putin is a rational human being, Nathaniel. His actions and incursions into sovereign countries have proven otherwise.

      • Anon says:

        Based on that standard, what is your assessment of the US or British administrations of the last 20 years or so. Lunatics? Madmen with guns? Triggerhappy cowboys?
        I fail to see your reasonable standard that would not have to be called hypocritical.
        I’m not a fan of Putin’s policies at all, but given the situation he is in, I think he is a rather rational actor.

    • Stereo says:

      Slightly naive?

    • Marshall says:

      Please! We wouldn’t want Russia destabilized internally-just saying.

      Gary Kasparov was eloquent-in grief, in despair, in admiration for Nemtsov-on one of the American Sunday morning shows. And sure,all of who oppose Putin “fear for our lives”-why do you think I left Moscow 2 years ago-he said.

      This is why protesting Netrebko, Gergiev etc. is not just something that’s interfering with the purity of art.

      • Anon says:

        Who is “we”, Marshall? I believe you and most of US citizens wouldn’t want it. But – obviously – many influential people in the US political regime want to destabilize Russia in order to drive their parasitic global hegemony agenda forward.

        Putin is a smart but strategically weak player in this theater, but he is far from being the sole actor as the western mainstream media wants us to believe. He is actually more of a reactor than an actor.

        Again, I say it’s not very reasonable and logical to assume this murder was ordered by Putin’s camp. They have not much to gain from this and much to lose. Nemtsov was not a threat to Putin at this point, his support in the population dwindling in single digit percentages of the population. And there would have been so many “better” ways to neutralize him if wanted, than killing him in the most theatrical way possible.

        No, the only logical conjecture from the outside at this point is to assume that this murder was perpetrated for propagandistic media impact.

  • Olaugh Turchev says:

    We all agree this is no coincidence. Even Gidon Kremer should recognize that the location where the victim was gunned down was carefully chosen so two of Moscow’s better known landmarks would be on virtually every media photos… Unless of course, irrationality has taken already too much of a toll.

  • Roy Smith says:

    How can Putin be trusted to comment meaningfully on this assassination, since he and his thugs may well have had a hand in it, not to mention complete responsibility for the “brainwashing”? Putin is playing proactive poker here, a conflict of interest bluff staged for a truth-deprived audience. How sad.

  • dalethorn says:

    Who will control the investigation?

  • Martha says:


  • Martha says:

    I meen “bravo” for the comments-not for Gidon Kremers washed brain.

  • Anon says:

    Cui bono? Unlikely Putin murdered a by now almost irrelevant opposition politician by shooting him in the open in front of the Kremlin. Give me a break. It’s most reasonable to speculate this was done by entities that would like to destabilize Russia.

    • Mauras says:

      Most probably Nemcov has arranged for the murder himself. This “komu eto vygodno”(=who benefits most is in charge) thinking makes a clear line between the open democratic mindset which is able to put things in context and pure propaganda blended with conspiracy theories. Putin is responsible for clear messages that people’s lifes whether in Ukraine or Russia are nothing compared to his vision of 20th century soviet empire restoration.

      • Anon says:

        Do you have some material we could study, where the alleged “20th century soviet empire restoration” by Putin becomes evident? So far I have seen nothing, all masturbation with a phantom. I have seen though a Putin stretching his hand out toward Western Europe, only to be bitten by the dogs there, who are acting on orders by their overseas masters.

        • Milka says:

          I suspect that “Anon ” knows more about the phantom than one cares to address
          in polite society .

  • milka says:

    Mr. Kremer in trying to be a latter day Zola is very cautious in dancing around this planned
    political murder .He tells us everything a thinking person already knows about government systems and people.The murder was ordered by “someone”,– c’mon Mr. Kremer who
    in Russia can order a political murder in broad daylight ? If one is going to finger point, who might this someone be Mr. Kremer? It is all very fine and good to wax poetic in the abstract on the human condition ,alas it takes more than turning off a TV set .

    This murder was a brilliant move- instead of a political confrontation it is has turned into
    a memorial march …where all can pretend to be appalled at what has happened .
    That Mr.Nemtsov was going to prove russia’s involvement in the Ukraine got him killed .
    If this march does not turn into something worse and remains peaceful out of fear , the
    thugs running the country may well point with hypocritical pride to the rest of the world how mother russia is an open and free society , until the next murder .

  • marked says:

    from Mr. Vlado Suchodolinský (formerly of Slovak Military Intelligence Service, he worked in Moscow for several years) about the shooting of Boris Nemtsov

    1. FSO (Federal Protection Service) has the whole perimeter under control. As I know from my own experience, whenever I handled affairs for our delegation, the FSO arrived within 30 seconds after a simple phone call. When the Greenpeace activists tried to put up some signs at the base of the bridge under the temple of Vasiliy Blazheny, FSO was there in a few seconds. There are dozens of cameras. Both on the bridge and around the bridge on each side and these would definitely capture the car after leaving the site. There is an entire security camera monitoring system called POTOK (stream). Anything that moves in that perimeter just walks from one camera to another and especially in this vicinity of Kremlin it’s built to perfection. Even the cleaning car there was intentional, so that it would be impossible to prove exactly who was shooting. To find the car with the assassins and stop them within 2km area is absolutely normal. 2-3 instructions by radio are all it takes. Under normal circumstances the FSO car would be right behind the assassin car. In addition, because of the war in Ukraine, all counterintelligence measures are reinforced.

    2. Kadyrov’s bullshit about participation of the CIA and Ukrainian services on the murder are fables worthy of Russian history. None of the services that work professionally and that evaluates mentioned counterintelligence measures would organize the murder in a place where there is a huge risk of detection.

    3. Secret service did it, but not foreign, Russian! It does not matter which one. If it were radicals who responded to the massive Russian media calls against “fifth column” and its leaders, whose identity is clear, the Russian service from the first moment knew who were the killers.

    Before every large protest or demonstration the opposition leaders are under interception and closely monitored. Some leaders (Navalny) were even arrested. It is impossible that before a large planned demonstration they would leave Nemcov, the chief organizer, alone, without wiretapping, stakeouts and generally being after him every second of the day.

    • Boulos says:

      Thank You, marked. This is a very convincing statement. Only thing eft to say: there are forces inside one block of power, that do not Need and do not wait for a word from the tsar himself. The know what he wants – or they think they know what will serve him and them best.

  • Milka says:

    That EU members were blocked from attending the last rites is most telling .
    People are now realizing what kind of state russia has become

    For those interested see Canadian National Post for to-day.

  • Alberto Portugheis says:

    GIDON KREMER says “The death of Boris Nemtsov rests not only on those who were ordered to kill him.” but this is wrong. The sentence should read “The death of Boris Nemtsov rests not only on those who GAVE THE ORDERS to kill him.”.

    We also read “The conscience of every decent person who loves both Russia and freedom must raise their voice in response to this blatant crime.” This creates a very difficult conundrum for people of conscience, who know Freedom does not exist. Freedom and Democracy are the two magic tools politicians use in order to subtly impose their dictatorial Governments on us.

    You will easily understand what I mean when you think of the current 250 armed conflicts raging in the world. There isn’t ONE SINGLE war, as a result of the people begging their Government for war. On the contrary, entire populations, the world over, keep asking their Government for PEACE. Yet, whilst politicians promise Peace, they all manage to organise wars, small and large, short and long.

    Same as Gidon Kremer rightly says: “This death is neither ‘accidental’, nor is it a ‘provocation’.”, we can say of ALL wars. Not one single war was or is accidental. If it happened/happens it means someone had the idea and others agreed with that idea.

    “Provocations” are also agreed. The Military don’t improvise. All conflicts have to start with someone firing the first shot, just like in a game of soccer, it is decided in advance who will kick the ball first.

    Gidon Kremer sees perfectly well how our “society’s good intentions have been driven into a dead-end.”, without seemingly realizing that society, by accepting a militarized world, have driven “themselves” into a dead end.

    To accept weapon research, manufacturing and trade (weapons as well as bombs, mortars, rockets, tanks, air-fighters, warships, etc) and to expect a world of Freedom, Peace, Justice, Human Rights, etc, etc, is simply an OXYMORON.

    Gidon Kremer says “……a country where the majority of the population treats lies….etc”. This the problem; majority of people DON’T KNOW, don’t realize they are being told lies, both by politicians and their partners, the Media.

    Gidon Kremer says “A country does not stand on the shoulders of a single man.” but doesn’t explain why this is so. A President or Prime Minister could NEVER stand “alone”. The only way he can stay in power is by saying and doing as by agreement with his political and business associates, and this not necessarily within his own Governing team, but with key people, worldwide.

    Gidon Kremer says: “Every one of us is responsible for the state of his land.” not realizing that this is pure wishful thinking, very far from reality. People have been “trained” to think they are responsible for the destiny of the country they live in, because THEY VOTE. The masses think that a country with elections is a Democracy. Nothing further from the truth.

    Gidon Kremer recommends “‘Switch off the brainwashing TV screens. Instead, take look at yourself. Follow your conscience” I recommend to switch the TV “on” and to listen to all political commentaries or blurb with profound concentration and scepticism, listen “in between lines” to all the words that are not uttered by the speaker. We must all develop a civic, political conscience. It is not good saying “I’m not interested in politics”. The only way we can improve conditions, put an end to hunger in the world, and …..much more, is by getting involved.

    Gidon Kremer is spot on when he says “do not run away from it”. Also when he says:
    ‘There is nothing more valuable than a human life.”

    Alberto Portugheis, musician