The killing of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov within sight of the Kremlin has exposed rarely seen tensions between different camps inside President Vladimir Putin’s system of rule.
No outsiders can know with any certainty what is happening behind the red-brick walls of the Kremlin, but some of Nemtsov’s associates say his shooting is being used by one faction to send Putin a message that they are unhappy and need to be reckoned with.
That would represent a challenge to the foundations of Putin’s 15-year-old rule, built on a rigid pyramid of power and the assumption of unshakeable loyalty.
“I think that perhaps Putin, even completely sincerely, was bewildered and even afraid,” Vadim Prokhorov, Nemtsov’s lawyer, said of the hours after the Feb. 27 shooting.
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