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Daughter of Boris Nemtsov Says Putin Bears Political Blame for His Murder

Zhanna Nemtsova

The daughter of murdered opposition leader Boris Nemtsov said President Vladimir Putin is "politically" to blame for the killing in an interview published by the BBC on Thursday. "Politically, he is responsible," Zhanna Nemtsova, 30, told the BBC.

She said that her father was the most prominent critic of Putin, and that his murder "beheaded" Russia's political opposition. "Everybody is frightened," she said.

"Now we do not have any other figure so powerful … with so much expertise and experience to confront officials," said Nemtsova, a Moscow-based stock market analyst and television presenter.

She said that Russian investigators have not contacted her because they are "not interested in an independent investigation."

Her father, shot dead just steps from the Kremlin two weeks ago at the age of 55, was a former prime minister and an outspoken leader of the country's fragmented opposition.

Nemtsova told the BBC that when she found out about her father's death, she couldn't believe it. "I still can't believe it," she said.

She said that she had never considered herself a political activist, but that after her comments on the murder the government could regard her as such. She added: "They have killed my father. I cannot keep silent." At the time of his death, Nemtsov was working on a report detailing Russian military actions in Ukraine, which she said they had discussed.

"Officially, technically, Russian troops are not involved in the military conflict in Ukraine, but what they actually do is that these soldiers resign from the army and then they go there by order," she said, according to comments transcribed by British newspaper The Guardian.

Authorities have arrested several men from Russia's restive republic of Chechnya in connection with Nemtsov's murder.

A prominent human rights activist said this week that at least one of those men — Zaur Dadayev, who reportedly confessed to the killing — had apparently been tortured.

"Multiple injuries" were visible on his body, Andrei Babushkin, a member of the Kremlin's human rights council who visited him in jail, said in comments carried by the Reuters news agency.

Dadayev, a former policeman, has reportedly attempted to rescind his confession, saying it was made under duress.

European Union lawmakers are demanding an international investigation into the killing of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, calling it the "most significant political murder in recent Russian history." The resolution adopted Thursday also expressed concern that parliamentarians and diplomats were refused entry into Russia to attend Nemtsov's funeral.

The resolution said that Russia is acting "contrary to a functioning democracy" and that government propaganda is turning the nation into a "state of repression, hate speech and fear." (AP)

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