Prominent Russian opposition figure, Boris Nemtsov, was shot dead outside the Kremlin Saturday. Walking on a street near the Kremlin, Nemtsov was shot four times after several men exited a vehicle, confronting him. Nemtsov was reportedly organizing a massive anti-government protest to take place Sunday - the day after his untimely death.
Although Putin was quick to offer his condolences and condemned the murder of the well-known Putin-critic, naysayers claim the Nemtsov's death was likely an execution. Russia is known for cracking down on dissidents and has even jailed such critics like the Pussy Riot band members.
Nemtsov, a 55-year-old former deputy prime minister, was reportedly preparing to release a report presenting evidence that directly ties Russia to backing the rebels in eastern Ukraine. Reportedly, Nemtsov believed he had evidence linking Moscow to supplying the 'Russian-backed rebels' with heavy weaponry. A few hours before his death, Nemtsov said on his radio show that Russia was heading toward crisis due to Putin's "mad, aggressive and deadly policy of war against Ukraine."
Speaking on Ekho Moskvy radio about Russia, Nemtsov further claimed that "the country needs a political reform. When power is concentrated in the hands of one person and this person rules for ever, this will lead to an absolute catastrophe, absolute."
Putin ordered the country's top law enforcement officials to oversee the probe into Nemtsov's murder. "Putin noted that this cruel murder has all the makings of a contract hit and is extremely provocative," presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies.
President Barack Obama called on Russia's government to perform a "prompt, impartial and transparent" investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice. Obama called Nemtsov a "tireless advocate" for the rights of Russian citizens.