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Chechen leader says Nemtsov’s alleged killers were ‘true patriots’

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has characterized Zaur Dadayev, one of the men arrested in Moscow for the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, as a “brave warrior” and a “true patriot of Russia.” According to Kadyrov, Dadayev was one of the Interior Ministry’s bravest, most fearless soldiers.

“I firmly believe that he’s sincerely devoted to Russia, and was ready to give his life for the Motherland,” Kadyrov wrote on Instagram, where he is fond of commenting on major news events.

Beslan Shavanov, who was killed when police tried to apprehend him on Sunday, March 8, was the same kind of brave warrior, Kadyrov said. According to the press, Shavanov blew himself up with a grenade, as police were closing in. He, too, was a suspect in Nemtsov’s murder case.

Kadyrov noted that Zaur Dadayev was a deeply religious man, who was shaken by the “actions of Charlie [Hebdo].” Earlier media reports say Nemtsov received several death threats because of his support for reprinting the cartoons made by the Paris satirists. 

“If the court confirms Dadayev’s guilt, then he’s committed a serious crime, killing a man. But I want to point out that Dadayev was incapable of lifting so much as a finger against Russia, a country for which he spent many years risking his life.”

Ramzan Kadyrov

Boris Nemtsov was shot and killed in Moscow on February 27. On March 7, the head of the Federal Security Service, Alexander Bortnikov, announced the apprehension of two murder suspects: Zaur Dadayev and Anzor Gubashev. Dadayev served in the Chechen Sever (“North”) battalion, a division of Russia’s Interior Ministry.

On March 8, Dadayev and Gubashev were charged formally with murder, along with another three suspects: Shagid Gubashev, Tamerlan Eskerkhanov, and Khamzat Bakhaev.

Of all five men now in custody, Dadayev was the only suspect not to plead not guilty during arraignment.

On March 9, Vladimir Putin awarded Ramzan Kadyrov the Order of Honor, which recognizes high achievements in public activities. Kadyrov has received several other high honors from Putin in the past, including Hero of the Russian Federation in 2004 (for service to the Russian state and nation, in a heroic feat of valor) and the Order For Merit to the Fatherland IV Class in 2006 (for meritorious service to the state).

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