This is an opinion piece by Andrey Makarychev, a visiting professor at the Institute for Government and Politics, University of Tartu. Professor Makarychev teaches in the political science master’s programmes in Tartu.
Words kill. Discourses matter.
Whoever physically triggered the gun that killed Boris Nemtsov, one of the most charismatic Russian opposition leaders in Moscow, his death on February 27th was definitely a result of Putin’s provocative invectives against “the fifth column”, “foreign agents”, “national traitors” and “enemies of the people”. The murder was politically prepared and justified before it happened in reality. At some point the boundary between giving a direct order and passively observing how others interpret your accusatory words is blurred.
Unfortunately, there is nothing new about political murders during Putin’s presidency: Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko, and now Boris Nemtsov. These assassinations once again confirmed how sovereignty in Russia is installed – as Michel Foucault would have said, not through encouraging people to live, but mainly through taking their lives, in Ukraine and within Russia itself. Continue reading