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MOSCOW, February 28. /TASS/. Deputies will thoroughly follow the investigation into the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, deputy speaker of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, Sergey Neverov said Saturday.
"I express condolences to all near and dear of Boris Nemtsov. I knew him personally as deputy prime minister in charge of the fuel and energy sector, as a deputy of the third-convocation State Duma. He was a lawmaker at the Yaroslavl city duma," Neverov said.
"This was an insolent crime committed in the center of Moscow. And as State Duma lawmakers, we will closely follow the course of the investigation and I don’t doubt the criminals will be established and brought to justice," he said.
Law enforcement agencies said Russian oppositionist and state figure, deputy of a regional legislature, the Yaroslavl city duma, Boris Nemtsov, was shot dead in downtown Moscow early on Saturday with four shots from a handgun from a car passing by him.
Yabloko party leader Sergey Mitrokhin called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to take Nemtsov’s murder under personal control. "This monstrous crime is connected with Boris Nemtsov’s political activity. This is a challenge to the opposition and the country’s leadership," he said.
Former finance minister Alexey Kudrin said Nemtsov’s murder is a tragedy for Russia. "It should be solved whatever it takes," Kudrin wrote on his Twitter page.
Former chairman of the RPR-Parnas party, one of whose leaders Nemtsov had been, Vladimir Ryzhkov, told TASS that he was shocked at what had happened.
"This is the third case after the murders of Galina Starovoitova and Sergey Yushenkov - the murder of a federal-scale politician," he said.
Co-chairman of RPR-Parnas Mikhail Kasyanov said he was also shocked. "Each oppositionist today needs society’s protection," he said.
Vladimir Putin was "immediately informed of Nemtsov’s murder in Moscow," and "the head of state instructed heads of the Russian Investigative Committee, Interior Ministry and Federal Security Service [FSB] to establish an investigative group and personally control the course of the crime’s investigation," Putin’s spokesman said Saturday.
"Putin noted that the violent murder bears the marks of a contract killing and is purely provocative," Dmitry Peskov said.
"The Russian president expresses deep condolences to the near and dear of Boris Nemtsov who tragically died," Peskov said.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has expressed deep sincere condolences to the near and dear of Nemtsov, Medvedev’s spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said Saturday.
Nemtsov was a co-chair of RPR-PARNAS. He had held a number of government positions in the 1990s.
Investigators are considering all versions when probing into the murder and do not rule out it was a contract killing, senior aide of the head of the Main Investigative Department in Moscow Yulia Ivanova told TASS.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case into the killing under articles 105 (murder) and 222 (illegal arms turnover) of the Russian Criminal Code.
According to preliminary data, an unknown assailant made at least 7-8 shots at Nemtsov when the latter was walking along the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge in downtown Moscow.
An investigative group is working at the site.
Six bullet cartridges have been discovered at the site where Nemtsov was killed, Russian Interior Ministry spokeswoman Yelena Alexeyeva said Saturday.
"Six cartridges have been found at the site. Four bullets hit Boris Nemtsov," Alexeyeva told journalists.
The murderer of Nemtsov was spying on him, a law enforcement source told TASS.
"The murderers knew Nemtsov’s route, he was spied on," the source said.