Daughter of Slain Kremlin-Critic Boris Nemtsov Leaves Russia

Boris Nemtsov's daughter leaves Russia
Zhanna, daughter of Russian leading opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, reacts during his funeral in Moscow, March 3, 2015. Thousands of Russians, many carrying red carnations, queued on Tuesday to pay their respects to Boris Nemtsov, the Kremlin critic whose murder last week showed the hazards of speaking out against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters

The daughter of slain Kremlin-critic Boris Nemtsov, has confirmed reports that she has left Russia after receiving threats, as she accused government propaganda outlets of encouraging the murder of her father.

Zhanna Nemtsova, the eldest daughter of Nemtsov, who was shot by mystery gunmen in central Moscow in February, has previously said she held Russian president Vladimir Putin "politically" responsible for the death of her father. On Saturday she told The Times newspaper that she had left Russia, refusing to comment if she would ever come back.

Last night RBC, the news channel where she used to work as a presenter, reported that Nemtsova had confirmed to them that she is no longer in the country, adding that she "is not prepared to say if she would return".

According to The Times, Nemtsova has been sent threatening messages telling her to stay out of politics and was shocked when Vladimir Kara-Murza, a friend of her father's and another critic of Putin, fell suddenly and mysteriously ill two weeks ago with severe kidney problems. He awoke from coma last week and Nemtsova believes he could have been poisoned, adding that any critic of Putin's "can be prosecuted, oppressed, slandered, jailed or killed and poisoned."

Hours after the RBC report, Russian business daily newspaper Vedomosti published an open letter written by Nemtsova accusing Russian state TV propaganda channels and workers of killing her father after "methodically sparking hatred towards him and other opposition figures who were portrayed as national traitors".

"[Propaganda] kills not only the mind and common sense but it literally kills. The tragic death of my father on February 27 2015 was an act of political oppression," Nemtsova wrote. "In and of itself propaganda is not a crime, it is part of the reality of information in today's world. What is a crime is using propaganda to encourage illegal acts, violence and war,"

It was for that reason that the denazification commission sentenced tens of Nazi propagandists in post-war Germany. It was for this reason that in the beginning of the 21 century the international tribunal convicted inciters of ethnic cleansing in Rwanda," Nemtsova added.

She visited the Polish senate last month to propose that the EU extends the blacklist which currently features persons perceived to be close to Putin such as the head of Russia's Federal Narcotics Service Viktor Ivanov and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, to include state media figures.

In a transcript of her draft of the blacklist extension, published by Polskie Radio, Nemtsova called on several presenters from state outlets Rossiya 1, Rossiya24 and radio Vesti FM, to be blacklisted based on statements they had made about Nemtsov prior to his death where they speculate that he is "a traitor" and "an enemy of Russia" as well as a member of "the fifth column".

The latter is a term used by Putin to refer to members of the Russian establishment who allegedly oppose his government on the orders of other states.

Nemtsov's death in February prompted a huge march attended by prominent figures of the Russian opposition including Ilya Yashin and Xenia Sobchak. Kremlin-critic Alexey Navalny requested he be released from prison to attend the march but he was denied.

Five Chechen men, including Zaur Dadayev a former fighter for 'Sever' battalion have since been detained by police under suspicion of organising the killing, however, despite three of them initially confessing to being involved in the murder, Dadayev and the other two suspects retracted their statements saying they were made under duress.

In the aftermath of Nemtsov's murder, Russian liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta speculated that a wider Chechen group which included the five men arrested had a dissident hit list featuring other opponents of Putin had been. Putin's aide Dmitry Peskov denied such a list existed. Daily newspaper Kommersant reported that as a result of receiving a warning from the Russian security services Sobchak had left the country, however she played down these reports as exaggerated.

In March Navalny's backer Vladimir Ashurkov expressed his fear that dissidents from Russia abroad now no longer felt safe and he feared not only for his own safety but that of his family.