If there was supposed to be any crackdown on opposition voices in Russia following the shocking death of Boris Nemtsov, it wasn't evident today during a rally in which tens of thousands converged in central Moscow this monring to mourn the veteran liberal politician Boris Nemtsov, whose killing on the streets of the capital has, according to AP, shaken Russia's beleaguered opposition.
As AP reports, and as the photos below show, the mourners marched to the bridge near the Kremlin where Nemtsov was gunned down shortly before midnight Friday. "The march could serve to energize the opposition or it could prove to be a brief outpouring of emotions that once again dissipates in a climate of fear."
Russia's federal investigative agency said it was looking into several possible motives for his killing.
The first possibility, the Investigative Committee said, was that the murder was aimed at destabilizing the political situation in Russia and Nemtsov was a "sacrificial victim for those who do not shun any method for achieving their political goals."
This suggestion echoed comments by Putin's spokesman and other Russian politicians that the attack was a "provocation" against the state.
Opposition activists had planned a protest rally on Sunday, which the city demanded they hold in a suburban neighborhood. After Nemtsov's death, they called instead for a demonstration to mourn him in central Moscow. The city gave its quick approval.
Below are various snapshots from the rally:
Nemtsov's memorial looks like the biggest protest in Russia since Bolotnaya. Organizers claiming 50,000-100,000. pic.twitter.com/HQjFzl3fQc— max seddon (@maxseddon) March 1, 2015
Police lined up on march route next to bridge where nemtsov killed pic.twitter.com/aanZgpMXXk— tom balmforth (@BalmforthTom) March 1, 2015