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Russian Police Return Confiscated Nemtsov Protest Banner After Realizing It's a Putin Quote

Kremlin Press Service

Police have returned a banner condemning the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov after realizing that it featured a quote from President Vladimir Putin.

Gera Knyazev, from the Russian city of Nizhniy Novgorod, claimed that local police confiscated the banner last March when he had hung it from the balcony of his office.

Writing on Facebook, Knyazev said that officers had seized the banner for “signs of extremism.”

The quote had in fact been spoken by President Vladimir Putin. “Russia must at last be rid of the shame and tragedy such as that which we lived through and saw not long ago,” Putin said after the politician's murder. “I mean the audacious murder of Boris Nemtsov right in the center of the capital.”

The banner was returned by the police on Oct. 7, 2016: Putin's birthday.

It's Kafka-esque: the police returned the banner today, on the birthday of the 'extremist' himself,” Knyazev wrote. “I just had to hang it in the same spot.”

Boris Nemtsov was fatally shot in the back in a drive-by shooting while walking across Moscow's Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge, close to Red Square, on Feb. 27, 2015.

Five men are currently charged with carrying out his murder: Zaur Dadaev, brothers Anzor and Shagid Gubashev, Tamerlan Eskerkhanov, and Khamzat Bakhaev. A sixth suspect, Beslan Shavanov, killed himself during a confrontation with police.

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