Anna Duritskaya is reportedly afraid for her life after watching her boyfriend and Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov gunned down on the streets of Moscow, with sources close to the Ukrainian model saying she fears Vladimir Putin will target her next.
Duritskaya was walking with Nemtsov near the Kremlin on Friday night when a masked gunman fired several shots at him, killing the Russian leader. Duritskaya said she was not able to identify the assassin.
“She was crying and she was saying Boris had been killed and he’s lying next to me,” her mother, Inna Duritskaya, told CNN. “She was in such shock she couldn’t say anything else.”
Inna said her daughter was questioned for hours and is now afraid that Russian authorities working at the order of Vladimir Putin will try to pin the murder on her. Anna Duritskaya has been staying at an apartment with an aide to Nemtsov and is reportedly under round-the-clock armed guard.
Anna’s mother shares the fear that Russian authorities will blame the murder on her as a way to stir up political strife.
“I think they want to make her guilty, they want to set her up,” Inna Duritskaya said. “What are their reasons to keep her? Everyone knows she had nothing to do with it. I think my daughter is kept because this murder should be linked to Ukraine. Somehow I am sure that the task is to link it to Ukraine and she is the only and the easiest way to do so.”
The killing and its strange circumstances have prompted conspiracy theories, with many pointing the finger at Putin. Nemtsov was one of Putin’s most vocal critics, and in the past, others who dared speak out against Putin have endured a similar fate.
Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a prominent Putin critic, was killed in 2006. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of the nation’s most prominent business leaders, was sent to prison for 10 years after accusing Putin of corruption.
The murder of Boris Nemtsov itself was surrounded in mystery. He was killed just feet from the Kremlin, and several CCTV cameras at the scene of his death had been turned off, while others returned only grainy images. His killer remains unidentified.
Anna Duritskaya said she now just wants to return to her mother in Kiev, and doesn’t believe she will be able to attend boyfriend Boris Nemtsov’s funeral.
[Image via News.com.au]