Unknown murderers of Nemtsov. What was overlooked during the investigation of the attack on the politician
Boris Nemtsov was shot dead late in the evening on February 27, 2015, on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, a hundred meters from the Kremlin. Five perpetrators were convicted of the assassination. The trial lasted nine months, but did not answer the question of who gave the order to kill one of the main opposition politicians in Russia and organized this murder.
The Investigative Committee named Ruslan Mukhudinov as the organizer of the crime. He worked as a driver for Ruslan Geremeyev, a member of an influential Chechen family. And while Mukhudinov was put on the wanted list, Geremeev, for whom Ramzan Kadyrov publicly stood up, was not even interrogated – the investigator explained this by the fact that he knocked on the door of the Geremeevs’ house, but no one answered.
The participation in the crime of two convicts – Zaur Dadaev and Anzor Gubashev – is undoubtable, as well as the involvement of Shadid Gubashev and Temirlan Eskerkhanov. It is unknown what the guilt of Khamzat Bakhaev was; Zhanna Nemtsova’s lawyers spoke about this in court. One of the accused, Beslan Shavanov, died during his arrest.
MediaZona made online reports from all court sessions, examined all the evidence in detail and discussed the trial with the jury. Five years after the murder, together with MediaZona, we decided to re-examine all the case materials in order to figure out whose possible participation in the murder the Investigative Committee could not or did not want to investigate.
In this article, we will show for the first time what Ruslan Geremeev, the person whom the Investigative Committee was preparing to indict, but did not dare to, looks like. We found the social network profiles of Ruslan Mukhudinov, who was put on the international wanted list as the organizer of the assassination attempt – the last photo with a person very similar to him was taken in 2020.
We found out that the investigation identified, but completely ignored several important witnesses and possible accomplices. For example, one of them could have been watching Nemtsov’s house back in December 2014, and the other, a Chechen police officer, helped the murderers with renting apartments in Moscow.
Some of these people are associated not only with Senator Suleiman Geremeyev, but also with State Duma deputy Adam Delimkhanov, one of the people closest to Ramzan Kadyrov.
We digitized the billing data of the defendants in this case and put them on a map. This immediately showed us the key locations where the accomplices met that were completely ignored by the investigation.
Jerusalem will be ours
In 2011, the construction of a mosque began ten kilometers from Jerusalem. It was built by the Circassians in the village of Abu-Gosh [de-facto, a suburb of Jerusalem]. When they ran out of money, the Circassians suddenly realized that they were actually Chechens. Having changed their ethnicity, they turned to Ramzan Kadyrov for help.
State Duma deputy Adam Delimkhanov, one of Kadyrov’s closest associates and the second most influential person in the entourage of the Chechen leader, flew to Abu Gosh. He provided support for the construction of the Akhmat Kadyrov mosque, a significant part of the funds was allocated from the fund of the same name. Not only Adam Delimkhanov, but also Ramzan Kadyrov himself flew to the opening of the mosque in 2014.
In 2013, a large delegation from Israel arrived in Grozny. It was headed by Arkady Gaidamak, a businessman who had already earned an extremely controversial reputation at that time.
Gaydamak is not only a citizen of Israel, but also of France, Canada and Angola. In the 90s, he was involved in the supply of weapons to Angola, where there was a civil war until 2002. He moved to Israel after being accused of illegal arms trafficking in France in 2000. Gaidamak also had interests in Russia: he owned the “Moskovskie Novosti” newspaper and the “United Media” holding [Business FM radio station, Business and Financial Markets newspaper]. In 2008, the businessman ran for mayor of Jerusalem, but lost the election.
Gaidamak came to Grozny to see businessman Telman Ismailov [The former owner of Cherkizovsky Market. After the closure of his market, he lived in Chechnya and financed FC Terek. In 2017, he was accused in absentia of two murders and illegal arms trafficking (Articles 105 and 222 of the Criminal Code of Russia). He left Russia and is now wanted by Interpol along with his brother] to negotiate the sale of his Israeli football club Beitar. Gaydamak and Ismailov together laid the foundations for the synagogue in Grozny [The process did not progress further than that: this place is still a vacant lot. A synagogue was erected in Grozny at a different address, but it also looks unfinished and abandoned]. This was a symmetrical step after the construction of a mosque near Jerusalem. The Israeli delegation to Chechnya was accompanied by Adam Delimkhanov, who also oversaw the construction of the synagogue.
A couple of days later, in Grozny, a friendly match took place between Gaidamak’s Beitar and Terek, which was then partially sponsored by Ismailov. The match ended in a goalless draw. Telman decided not to buy Beitar, but Gaydamak didn’t leave Grozny empty-handed – he took two footballers from Terek with him.
Zaur Sadaev and Dzhabrail Kadiev did not stay at Beitar for long. The club’s fans are known for their far-right views and pride themselves on the fact that no Muslims play for it. Gaydamak’s decision enraged them – the fans burned down the office and museum of “Beitar”.
In the midst of the protests, the team hosted Bnei Sakhnin [Israel’s first Arab soccer club] at their stadium. At the very end of the match, Dzhabrail Kadiev came on as a substitute. At that moment, the cameras showed the VIP tribune with Arkady Gaydamak, the mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat and the athlete’s mother, who had flown in from Grozny. On the row above them stood Ruslan Geremeev, major of the internal troops and officer of the Sever battalion of the Kadyrovites. He also got into the pictures of local photographers taken before and after the match – walking next to Gaydamak [MediaZona failed to contact Gaydamak] and his security.
Mediazona and Scanner Project are the first to show how the key figure [Zhanna Nemtsova’s lawyers repeatedly demanded to interrogate Ruslan Geremeyev, the investigation wanted to summon him for interrogation, but could not serve the summons] of the criminal case on the murder of Boris Nemtsov looks. Prior to this, the attempts to identify him by journalists were erroneous [In February 2016, Novaya Gazeta analyzed a screenshot from a surveillance camera at the Radisson Slavyanskaya hotel and indicated that the person in the center of the frame was Ruslan Geremeev. In fact, that was Aslanbek Khatayev, we will talk about him below].
We managed to find a few more pictures from different years, where Ruslan Geremeyev was photographed with Ramzan Kadyrov and with his immediate superior – the commander of the Sever battalion Alibek Delimkhanov, brother of Adam Delimkhanov.
As two sources explained to us on condition of anonymity, the delegation from Chechnya at this match included a certain “representative of Ramzan Kadyrov”. We could not find other candidates for the role of the representative of the Chechen leader, except for Geremeyev, in Gaidamak’s retinue.
Meetings in hotels, forgotten defendants and false testimonies
In the materials of Boris Nemtsov’s murder case, there are video recordings from surveillance cameras in the hotels “Ukraine” and “Radisson Slavyanskaya”. The killers of Nemtsov [Those who were formally charged: Zaur Dadaev, Temirlan Eskerkhanov and Ruslan Mukhudinov] and other persons involved in the case often used these hotels for their meetings. Investigators analyzed the camera footage, but some of the people either remained unidentified or were identified falsely.
Three people came to one of the meetings at the Radisson Slavyanskaya hotel about a month before Nemtsov’s murder [January 19, 2015]: Zaur Dadaev (according to the investigation, it was he who shot the politician) and Temirlan Eskerkhanov. The last person in this company was police lieutenant Aslanbek Khatayev.
After the murder, investigators interrogated Khatayev as a witness. He said that he went on business trips to Moscow from time to time and stayed in hotels. The police lieutenant did not deny that he knew Eskerkhanov and his fellow villager Ruslan Mukhudinov [The alleged organizer and customer of the murder according to the official version of the investigation. More about him – in the third chapter], and added that Ruslan and Artur Geremeev are his relatives. At the same time, he stressed that “Dadaev, Shavanov, Gubashevs and Bakhaev are not familiar to me, and I do not know the indicated persons.”
Investigators did not specify how Khatayev ended up at Radisson Slavyanskaya with Dadaev, whom he did not know, and why he called the same Dadaev in January 2015 [Khataev spoke to Dadaev on the phone at least 28 times in January and February 2015. The conversations were short: no more than 2.5 minutes. In January – March, he also had phone conversations with Ruslan Mukhudinov, Ruslan and Artur Geremeev. Read more about the billing data of the defendants in the case in the fourth chapter].
On the other hand, the investigation, judging by the wording of the questions, was interested in where a simple police inspector got the money to buy an expensive car [Mercedes-Benz SLK 350] and an apartment in Moscow.
The materials of the criminal case say that Khatayev was registered in Moscow in an apartment in the residential complex “Edelveis” [3 Davydkovskaya Street, Fili-Davydkovo District. The residential complex is located near Kutuzovsky Prospekt and the Slavyansky Boulevard metro station.] since 2012. During interrogation, he said that he was “simply registered” in this apartment. According to billing data, Khatayev lived in “Edelveis” in the winter of 2014-15 and was often visited by other defendants in Nemtsov’s murder case.
One of the apartments in the residential complex “Edelveis” belonged [According to the extract from Rosreestr, he owned a 148 m² apartment on the 33rd floor of the complex, its approximate cost is 45-50 million rubles. Apparently, the investigators did not request data from Rosreestr.] to the police lieutenant from May 2012 to February 2013. Khatayev bought it from Razita Delimkhanova, the former wife of the deputy Adam Delimkhanov.
In January 2013, Khataev bought another real estate object – a private house in the “Aleksino Estate” residential complex not far from Istra in the Moscow region. A month later, he sold his apartment in “Edelveis” to the president of Vertical Capital Rustam Ulubaev, but, as follows from the materials of the criminal case, he continued to live there until January 2015.
Operatives of the criminal investigation department indicated that “Khatayev’s labor activity is connected with the escort of high-ranking officials from the government of the Chechen Republic.” In the Getcontact app [An app that allows you to see how a person’s number is saved by other users] Khatayev’s phone number from the case file is recorded as “Aslanbek Presidential Security”, “Aslanbek Delimhanov”, “Aslanbek Edelveis”, “Aslambek Financier” and “Aslambek and Adam”.
Aslanbek Khatayev not only negotiated with Nemtsov’s killers, but also booked joint tickets [According to information available to Bellingcat investigative journalists from the “Siren” system] with Ruslan Geremeyev for a flight from Moscow to Grozny the day after the murder [They ended up not using these tickets: Ruslan Geremeev flew away on March 1 with Zaur Dadaev, and Aslanbek Khatayev stayed in Moscow].
According to Khatayev’s phone billing data, Aslanbek regularly moved around Moscow with Ruslan Geremeev, Ruslan Mukhudinov and Zaur Dadaev, and visited their apartments on Veernaya Street, including one visit a few days after the murder of Boris Nemtsov [March 2, 2015].
In one of the leaked databases, there is a record that in 2014 Aslanbek Khatayev applied for a loan, indicating that he works as a driver in the Federation Council. At the request of MediaZona, the Federation Council clarified that they do not recruit drivers. Khatayev’s application included the phone number of his superior from the number pool of the Federation Council. When she called this number, the correspondent of “MediaZona” was told that this was the reception office of Senator Suleiman Geremeyev. The employee said that she did not remember Aslanbek Khatayev, but suggested that such a person had worked for them. In 2014, this phone number also belonged to Senator Geremeyev’s reception office.
Lawyers Olga Mikhailova and Vadim Prokhorov, who represented Zhanna Nemtsova, petitioned during the trial to summon Aslanbek Khatayev for questioning, but the court rejected this request. Khatayev refused to communicate with the MediaZona correspondent and asked not to bother him with calls.
The unknown observer
On January 22, three days after meeting with Khatayev, Zaur Dadaev arrived at Radisson Slavyanskaya once again – this time the guards recorded that at the same time a Mercedes-Benz ML300 with the license plate A007AP199 stopped in the parking lot. This car was registered to Ruslan Mukhudinov, he drove Ruslan Geremeev in it.
On that day, several more cars drove into the parking lot, “in which people of the Caucasian ethnicity arrived, who may have met at the hotel with men who looked like Dadaev and Eskerkhanov” [Such testimony was given by the hotel’s security officers].
One of these cars was a Toyota Land Cruiser 200. Investigators found out that the owner of the car, Fariza Kaysarova, lives in Grozny, and the actual person driving it is Abdul Elmurzayev. The Investive Committee requested the billing data of his phone, but did not analyze the data received.
It is likely that Abdul Elmurzayev followed Boris Nemtsov in the second half of December 2014 – that is, two months before the murder. According to the billing data, he spent his time not far from the politician’s home and office on weekdays from December 12 – his duties lasted eight hours in a row.
There is no information in the case file as to whether Abdul Elmurzayev was interrogated.
Owner of the headquarters
The day before the murder of Nemtsov [February 26, 2015], at 15:20, a Mercedes carrying by Ruslan Geremeev drove into the parking lot of Hotel Ukraina. Temirlan Eskerkhanov was in the car with him. They went into the hotel and spent some time in the “Tatler” restaurant inside. According to the Criminal Investigation Department, one more person remained in the car – a person “similar to A. A. Geremeev [i.e. Artur Gereemev, whose arrival in Hotel Ukraina is confirmed by billing data]” was behind the wheel.
Artur Geremeev is a relative and another driver of Ruslan Geremeev. The purchase of an apartment on Veernaya Street, which served as housing and headquarters for Zaur Dadaev and other accused of Nemtsov’s murder, was registered in his name. Ruslan Mukhudinov was involved in organizing its purchase.
Artur Geremeev flew in from Grozny on December 20, 2014 together with Zaur Dadaev [This follows from data available to investigative journalists from Bellingcat from the “Siren” system]. He made another flight from Moscow to Grozny on February 17 in the company of Ruslan Geremeev and Temirlan Eskerkhanov.
General Nikolai Tutevich, the head of the investigation team in the Nemtsov case, wanted to interrogate Artur Geremeyev. Investigator Kamashev went to his registration address in Chechnya, but “nobody opened the door to the household” [Artur Geremeev is registered at the same address in the village of Starogladkovskaya as Ruslan Geremeev].
The meeting of four
20 minutes after Eskerkhanov and Ruslan Geremeyev [On the same day, February 26], a “man of Slavic appearance” [This is how the officers of the criminal investigation department described him] entered Hotel Ukraina. The operatives assumed that “this man arrived in a Mercedes with the license plate A175VU197” [Previously, the car with this license plate was used by Adam Geremeev, Ruslan Geremeev’s cousin].
The “man of Slavic appearance” turned out to be Ali Aliyev, a native of Dagestan [The file contains his driver’s card (internal document of the Ministry of Internal Affairs)].
From 2008 to 2001, Aliyev listed the State Duma as his place of work on social networks. The Central Office of the State Duma apparatus ignored the request of MediaZona.
Ali Aliyev is close to Aslanbek Khatayev. On his social network pages, he published a picture taken at the entrance to the President-Hotel [Hotel of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation, a place where Adam Delimkhanov and Ramzan Kadyrov often stay. Read more about the President-Hotel in the fourth chapter] and repeatedly took pictures in the parking lot of the “Edelveis” residential complex where Khatayev lived. Khatayev and Aliyev have a joint photo taken during a friendly dinner.
Aliyev loves to be photographed behind the wheel of executive cars or next to these cars. One of them is the Mercedes-Benz S500 with the license plate С777АЕ77. Both Khatayev and Aliyev paid the parking fees for this car.
In June 2015, Aliyev posted on VK a photo from a richly furnished room – presumably one of the rooms of the Delimkhanovs’ family residence in the ancestral village of Dzhalka: there is a group photo with Ramzan Kadyrov on the table in a frame [On it are Sharip Delimkhanov (since October 2016 – head of the National Guard for Chechnya), Alibek Delimkhanov (formerly immediate superior of Ruslan Geremeyev, now – the deputy commander of the North Caucasian district of the National Guard troops), Ramzan Kadyrov, Adam Delimkhanov and Interior Ministry colonel Amkhad Delimkhanov], and on the wall there is a joint portrait of Akhmad Kadyrov and Ramzan Delimkhanov – the fathers of Ramzan Kadyrov and Adam Delimkhanov.
In 2017, Aliyev became the owner of a Mercedes GLS 350 with license plate M007EE199. Apparently, this deal was fake: Aliyev paid the parking bills for this car back in 2016. At that time, the car belonged to Aslanbek Ismailov.
Ismailov is also associated with the Delimkhanov family – in December 2019, he bought from Maryam Delimkhanova, the mother of Adam Delimkhanov, a stake in the Chechen company OOO “Niyso and Co”. Until August 2009, Aslanbek Khatayev was the director of the company.
In a conversation with MediaZona, Aliyev said that on February 26, 2015, he came to the Ukraine Hotel to meet with “[his] friend Sasha”.
“Yes, all these people were there. We just met, drank tea and left. I don’t know Geremeev and Eskerkhanov. I only know them in the same way as I know Saddam Hussein or Barack Obama from TV. In the State Duma, I only worked as an assistant on a voluntary basis. I was in the “United Russia” in the Kaluga region, I was interested at first, but then I left”, – he said. Aliyev refused to give the name of the deputy he worked for as an assistant. – “I will not say it. It’s water under the bridge. I know Aslanbek Khatayev: we worked together at the Maloyaroslavets dry mixtures plant, where I work as a director, 15 years ago. “
The “friend Sasha” is obviously Alexander Dmytserko. He shows up at the hotel at about 17:30 and greets Ali Aliyev. The men then go to the “Tatler” restaurant.
Half an hour later, Aliev, Dmyterko, Eskerkhanov and Ruslan Geremeev leave the hotel. Despite Aliyev’s assurances that he did not know anyone except Dmytserko, the men all go out together.
In the available materials of the criminal case [MediaZona and Scanner Project only possess the materials of the criminal case against the convicted perpetrators of the murder of Boris Nemtsov. There is also a “maternal” criminal case “against unidentified persons”, which is still being investigated] there is no information about the investigative actions against Dmytserko and Aliyev. They were not interrogated as witnesses, but both affirm [Dmytserko refused to answer the questions from MediaZona sent by e-mail, but said that he had a conversation with the investigators and had nothing to add] that the officers of the investigative committee communicated with them.
This gentleman will answer for everyone
In late October 2015, General Tutevich ordered the FSB to find three defendants: Ruslan Mukhudinov and Ruslan and Artur Geremeevs. The first was planned to be indicted, and the rest were to be interrogated as witnesses.
On the same day, officers of the FSB and the Investigative Committee arrived at the village of Starogladkovskaya in Chechnya, where the Geremeevs and Mukhudinov were registered. At the Geremeevs’ place, “no one opened the door to the household,” and the Mukhudinov family, according to neighbors, “moved out of the specified address about six months before.”
General Tutevich assigned the role of organizer of the murder to Ruslan Mukhudinov: according to the head of the investigation group, it was he who “provided the actual members of the organized criminal group with a dwelling place for temporary residence and hiding,” bought a car to spy on Nemtsov and obtained a pistol.
Tutevich and his subordinates came to the conclusion that Mukhudinov and “other persons unidentified by the investigation” offered the other defendants [Zaur Dadaev, Anzor and Shadid Gubashev, Beslan Shavanov, Khamzat Bakhaev and Timerlan Eskerkhanov] to kill Boris Nemtsov for 15 million rubles.
At the same time, many witnesses said that Mukhudinov was only Ruslan Geremeev’s driver.
In November 2015, the Ministry of Internal Affairs informed Tutevich that Mukhudinov had left for the UAE, “using forged documents.” Mukhudinov was put on the federal and international wanted list through Interpol.
The investigation requested information on the social network accounts of the defendants, but for some reason, they were not interested in Mukhudinov’s accounts. Scanner Project and MediaZona found them using the phone number linked to them.
Interests of “Faceless One”
In all his profiles open to third-party users, Mukhudinov’s profile name is “Ruslan Gilaev”. In the comments on Odnoklassniki, Mukhudinov is referred to as “Rusik” several times.
In VK the middle name Bezlikiy666 [“Bezlikiy” meaning “faceless one” in Russian] has been added to the first and last name. This is probably Mukhudinov’s nickname: in the comments to his post on Odnoklassniki, the user Tayushka AfeN Bulatseva refers to Ruslan in this way several times.
“God, Faceless, I told you something completely different!” – the girl replies to Mukhudinov’s remark about Allah. Young people argue about human imperfection, the polemic begins under Mukhudinov’s short post: “Every person is individual – but not perfect !!!!”.
“Man is the most imperfect species in this world,” comments Bulatseva. “On the contrary, man is the crown of creation,” Mukhudinov objects to her. “Allah Almighty created us so imperfect in this world!” The dispute ends with Mukhudinov himself, noting that “the problem [of people] is the weak faith in Allah”, but “each person is individual and beautiful in some way!”
On social networks, Mukhudinov is subscribed to groups with a Chechen theme, as well as groups about new films and humorous communities. On Odnoklassniki, he also joined the groups “Housewife’s Corner”, “My Love Story” and “I Am Against Terror.”
He leaves likes under video recordings of the national dance ensemble “Grozny” and humorous videos. The very first on the list of favorites is a video titled “Fabulous city of Dubai. Stunning beauty. “
There is almost no personal information on his Facebook page. His VK page mostly features music and capacious manly statuses: “A hoarse, but responsible rooster throws pebbles at the windows in the morning”, “One precise blow to the jaw replaces three hours of educational conversation.”
Reports of death are greatly exaggerated
In early June 2015, Rosbalt, citing a source in law enforcement, reported that “Ruslan Mukhudinov, it seems, is no longer alive”.
But Mukhudinov continued to use his social networks after this publication: he continued to log in to VK until September 20, 2015, and he last opened his Odnoklassniki profile on October 8, 2016.
Apparently, Odnoklassniki is Mukhudinov’s favorite social network, and he spends the most time there. From 2011 to 2013, he published personal photos and chatted with friends in the comments under the posts.
The pictures show Mukhudinov driving or next to the car, in the field against the background of flowering poppies, or at the obelisk at the site of Mikhail Lermontov’s duel. “This is where Lermontov was capped! It’s in Pyatigorsk in case you wonder” he answers the question about the location of the photo.
In December 2011, Mukhudinov played “cities”: he was the first to write “Moscow” in his notes. Some commentators, including some Razmbek, Abdullah and Aslan, do not immediately understand the principle of the game. “The letter n now!” – Mukhudinov leads the process. There are 422 comments under the post, the virtual game lasts three days. Friends make fun of each other and discuss other topics: for example, the TV show “Dom-2″ and its participants. At some point, Mukhudinov announces a break to watch the match of his favorite football team – Barcelona: “I’m leaving you now, guys! My favorite team is playing. We have already scored one goal! Go Barca !!!! ” On that day, September 3, 2011, Barcelona beat Levante 5-0.
Friends with no influence
Friends of Ruslan Mukhudinov on social networks can be divided into three distinct groups: his acquaintances from Moscow, Chechnya and Novy Urengoy, where he lived for several years after leaving school.
Many of his friends from Chechnya eventually moved to Moscow. Some are engaged in creative professions: performers of folk music and dances, teachers of the Chechen language, KVN actors and so on. Others became minor officials.The clip “Friends”, posted on Ruslan Mukhudinov’s VK page
Mukhudinov dedicated a video clip to his closest friends titled simply “Friends”. In 2011, he published it on VK: it’s a selection of photographs with Mukhudinov and other young Chechens. The men in the pictures often just stand side by side and look at the camera without smiling, sometimes hugging. Shots against the background of the mosque are followed by photographs next to a charcoal grill or from feasts: people in the pictures are smoking, there’s alcohol and hookahs on the tables. Photos replace each other to the track “Moscow is a rampant city” by the rapper DinoMC47 [“Grozny” means “rampant” in Russian, this is a wordplay based on the name of the Chechen capital]. “The lights of a big city are knocking people down in flocks, – the song lyrics go – Ready for anything, they turn each other into dust <…> either you are the winner, or you kneel. “
Ilyas Tsatsayev often appears in the video, he is apparently one of Mukhudinov’s closest friends. Tsatsaev is an employee of the office of the plenipotentiary representative of the Chechen Republic in Moscow, Bekkhan Taymaskhanov. Rustam Tapaev, First Deputy General Director of AO “Resorts of the North Caucasus”, writes this about his colleague under their joint picture on his Instagram:
“He can come to an agreement with a traffic cop, driving around Moscow at night without documents (and that’s with a face like his!), he could even build a financial pyramid in Yerevan (given the lack of finances there and the Armenians’ dislike of pyramids, even Egyptian ones). But he chose to humbly serve his small homeland in the representational office.”
Another person often seen in Mukhudinov’s video is Magomed Mutsalkhanov, the artistic director of the “Bart” national dance ensemble and the founder of the Moscow language studio, where they teach the Chechen language. The friends have many joint photos – some of them were published on Mutsalkhanov’s VK page.
Mukhudinov’s elder brother Imaldin also appears in the video. He now lives in Chechnya in the village of Vinogradnoe, Groznensky District, and works as an SMM manager – he runs the @vinogradnoe_bammat_urt and @stanitsa_starogladovskaya pages on Instagram.
One of the notable characters in Mukhudinov’s video is Said-Umar Geremeev. In 2018, when Mukhudinov’s accounts had long been abandoned, he published fresh photos with Ruslan. Said-Umar and an employee of the National Guard Salavdi Dangaev are also in the frame. Apparently, these photos were taken a year earlier – Dangaev published similar pictures on his VK page in June 2017. Other photos of the friends’ joint trip to the mountains were also published there, some of the pictures were taken near the Geremeevs’ house in the village of Starogladkovskaya.
Presumably [The conclusion about the similarity is subjective and made on the basis of comparison with other photographs of Ruslan Mukhudinov], the most recent photo with Ruslan Mukhudinov appeared in two instagram accounts in 2020. One post was published by user @ a.geremeev on June 7, the second – by Said-Umar Geremeev on September 11 (the post is currently unavailable, Said-Umar’s page was saved in the cache).
After studying their social networks of all of Mukhudinov’s friends and acquaintances, we can conclude that none of them has direct access to the leadership of Chechnya or any influential politicians and businessmen. Mukhudinov was friends with his peers who are now just beginning to make a career in the government. Other persons involved in the murder of Boris Nemtsov are older and more influential, their social ties with the leadership of Chechnya can be traced much more clearly. However, the investigation preferred to dwell on the version that it was Mukhudinov who ordered and organized the murder of Nemtsov.
According to the database of the Federal Service of Bailiffs, until November 2016, bailiffs regularly received fines issued to Ruslan Mukhudinov for traffic violations. This means that the law enforcement agencies were in no hurry to look for even this alleged organizer of the murder.
The murderers’ track
The investigation requested billing data of the mobile phones used by the persons involved in the case and people associated with them. Some of this data was used by the investigators when they proved the use of “combat cells” [cellphones that were used during surveillance at the last stages of the assassination attempt and directly on the day of the murder] in the area where Nemtsov lived. For the first time ever, MediaZona and Scanner Project show the movements of Nemtsov’s killers and other suspects.
Here are some conclusions that can be drawn by comparing the data from the map and the materials of the criminal case.
One phone for the shooter and the scout
One of the phones in the criminal case ends with five sixes. It was registered to Fariza Kaisarova, but, judging by GetContact data, Abdul Elmurzaev, the one who watched Nemtsov’s house in December 2014, also used it. Elmurzaev also used the car registered to Fariza Kaisarova, and drove her to a meeting at the Radisson Slavyanskaya hotel.
The SIM card was activated on December 12, 2014, not far from the house where Elmurzaev lived, at about 11 am. And in the afternoon he went by car to Zamoskvorechye, where Nemtsov’s house and his offices were located. This is how Elmurzaev’s first known watch began.
A little earlier – at 11 am [According to data from the “Potok” system from the case materials] – a ZAZ Chance, which the killers used to prepare and commit the crime, moved to this area.
On that day, Elmurzaev left Zamoskvorechye only after 10 pm. After that, he would drive to Nemtsov’s house at about 14:00 almost every day, with the exception of December 19 and weekends, until December 26.
A SIM card with a number with five sixes was inserted into an old, already used device [IMEI 358289040314950] – Zaur Dadaev made a call from it in December 2014, using his SIM card [With the number +79646140000].
On December 22, Abdul Elmurzaev possibly met with Ruslan Mukhudinov – their phones, with a slight time difference, were at the same base stations near the Pushkinskaya and Mayakovskaya metro stations and 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya street. It can be assumed that Elmurzaev and Mukhudinov walked together along Tverskaya for several hours.
On December 26, Elmurzaev and Zaur Dadaev were recorded at base stations near the “Edelveis” residential complex, where Aslanbek Khatayev lived.
The participants of the murder began to follow Nemtsov again in February: from 7th to 11th, from 12th to 16th, and from 21st to 27th. The defendants would normally come to Zamoskvorechye on weekends, when Nemtsov returned from Yaroslavl after working in the regional duma.
Such coordination could mean that the group members either had access to the ticket booking system, or Nemtsov was followed in Yaroslavl.
For example, from February 17 to 21, there was no surveillance of Nemtsov’s house: until February 21, the politician was in Yaroslavl, from where at 19:30 he went to Moscow by train [The journey from Yaroslavl to Moscow by train takes 3 to 4.5 hours]. Already 40 minutes after the departure of the train, Zaur Dadaev and Anzor Gubashev arrived in Zamoskvorechye.
Judging by the billing data, Dadaev often met and called up with Aslanbek Khatayev – the one who, during the investigation, claimed that he was not familiar with Nemtsov’s killer. Khatayev’s phone was regularly recorded in the area of the apartments on Veernaya Street – including at the time when Dadaev was there. And on February 6, Aslanbek Khatayev and “Combat cell No. 1” were near Veernaya Street at the same time.
The day after the murder, the base station in the area of the “Zinc” bar and apartments on Veernaya Street recorded the location of Aslanbek Khatayev’s phones together with Zaur Dadaev, Ruslan Mukhudinov and Anzor Gubashev. In the evening of the same day, Mukhudinov and Khatayev took turns visiting the President-Hotel.
On March 1, 2015, Ruslan Geremeev and Zaur Dadaev flew from Moscow to Grozny. The last point where Geremeev’s phone was spotted is the village of Dzhalka.
Places overlooked by the investigation
One of the key points where the defendants in the case often met was the President-Hotel. For example, on January 28, Ruslan Geremeev, Aslanbek Khataev, Anzor Gubashev and Zaur Dadaev were there at the same time.
Electronic keys to the rooms in the President-Hotel were found during a search in the apartment on Veernaya Street, where Ruslan Geremeev lived. The investigation turned to the Federal State Unitary Enterprise “President-Hotel” – it turned out that in 2014, Senator Suleiman Geremeev stayed in these rooms.
For some reason, the investigation did not request information from the surveillance cameras in the President-Hotel.
Another important place is the residential complex “Edelveis”, where the policeman Aslanbek Khatayev lived. Eskerkhanov, Mukhudinov, Ruslan and Artur Geremeev, Dadaev, Elmurzaev, as well as a man who used the “Combat cell from Veernaya Street” came to this house many times.
The investigators did not ask for the video recordings or question the “Edelveis” guards and generally ignored this place.
“There is no doubt that a significant part of the perpetrators, and even more so all the organizers of this crime, have so far escaped responsibility,” lawyer Vadim Prokhorov assures.
Formally, the investigation into the murder of Boris Nemtsov has not yet been closed – the case against Ruslan Mukhudinov, named by the organizer, and “other unidentified persons” have been split into separate proceedings. But there are still no results of this investigation, and no evidence that it is actually being conducted.
“Unfortunately, the Investigative Committee of Russia – obviously, under instructions from above – deliberately hinders further investigation of this criminal case, since the threads lead at least to the immediate circle of Ramzan Kadyrov, and probably even higher,” says Prokhorov, who nevertheless hopes that “Eventually, under a new regime in Russia, this case will be actively and effectively investigated.”
Editors: Dmitry Treshchanin, Egor Skovoroda
Work with data: Mikhail Maglov, Zinaida Burskaya, Midhat Izmailov
Text: Mikhail Maglov, Egor Skovoroda, Alla Konstantinova, Polina Glukhova
Artist: Maria Tolstova