A leading Russian opposition politician, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, has been shot dead in Moscow, Russian officials say. An unidentified attacker in a car shot Mr Nemtsov four times in the back as he crossed a bridge in view of the Kremlin, police say. He died hours after appealing for support for a march on Sunday in Moscow against the war in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the murder, the Kremlin says. President Putin has assumed "personal control" of the investigation into the killing, said his spokesman Dmitry Peskov.That sounds awfully similar to another assassination of a popular Russian opposition leader 80 years ago:
On 1 December 1934, Sergey Kirov was shot and killed by a gunman at his offices in the Smolny Institute. Some historians place the blame for his assassination at the hands of Joseph Stalin and believe the NKVD organized his execution, but any evidence for this claim remains lacking. Kirov's death served as one of the pretexts for Stalin's escalation of repression against dissident elements of the Party ... After Kirov's death, Stalin called for swift punishment of the traitors and those found negligent in Kirov's death.Spooky, eh? How much has Russia changed over the centuries? Czar, First Secretary, President -- whatever the title, it's always brutal autocrats ruling that haunted, tragic nation.