Op-d: A year on from the murder of Boris Nemtsov protesters marched in Russia.
On February 27, 2015, Boris Nemtsov, 55, was shot dead by an unknown person or persons and on February 27, 2016, protesters marched in a show of solidarity.
A planned rally on March 1, 2015, in Russia scheduled to be a protest against Putin and the powers that be in that country turned into a march to commemorate Nemtsov. His death came after he had appealed for protesters to join a march against Russia's involvement in Ukraine.
Nemtsov was deputy prime minister of the country under President Boris Yeltsin and opposed Putin and his government. He was to lead the 2015 protest which instead became a memorial to him.
He had reportedly previously received death threats.
The 2015 protest rally went ahead to commemorate Nemtsov with Russian officials granting permission for up to 50,000 to take part.
Nemtsov was in the vicinity of the Kremlin when he was killed by four shots in his back.
He and his Ukrainian girlfriend, model Anna Duritskaya, had just left a restaurant and were heading for his apartment when gunmen struck.
Mr Nemtsov was shot on a bridge around 23:40 (20:40 GMT) within sight of St Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin.
The spot where he died has been made into a 'shrine' to commemorate the man and his murder. It has been vandalised and flowers removed many times so now a handful of supporters keep watch 24/7/
Fox News said "According to the BBC, footage airing on Russian television showed a white Lada Priora car in the area; still, there is no clear signal the vehicle was involved in Nemtsov’s murder. One part of the film shows someone running in the road alongside the Great Moskvoretsky Bridge and jumping into the waiting car, which then sped off."
The precise whereabouts of Duritskaya were not known and or the identity of who killed him or ordered his killing.
The killing was quickly condemned by US President Barack Obama. The finger of blame has been pointing at Putin and the Kremlin, an easy and obvious target.
Putin however has also condemned the killing vowing to catch the perpetrators.
Who killed Nemtsov will be a given in some people's minds but we should not easily or readily dismiss the idea of foreign interference.
It is quite possible Putin or the Kremlin or both were behind the murder but it is just as possible they were not.
Accusations that the opposition killed Nemtsov to make him a martyr seem too far-fetched but who knows in these volatile times.
Does Anna Duritskaya know who was responsible?
Voice of America reported "Putin, meanwhile, has pledged to find and prosecute those responsible for the murder of his prominent critic. "Everything will be done to give the organizers and executors of this base and cynical murder the punishment they deserve," he promised in a note of condolence to Nemtsov's mother, Dina Eidman.
Perhaps this murder was simply a Kremlin ordered assassination or perhaps it was something else.
Time may or may not tell.
It did not take long for arrests to be made. Five men were arrested and in January 2016 the Daily Telegraph reported "Russian investigators have completed their dossiers of evidence against five men accused of murdering Boris Nemtsov, but have yet to identify who commissioned the contract killing or the motive for the assassination."
Saturday BBC News reports "investigators have identified the driver of an interior ministry battalion deputy commander as the supposed mastermind of the murder - but he has vanished without trace."
With allegations of witness statements acquired under torture the trial that will follow may fail to deliver justice.
Nemtsov: Kremlin-Watchers Find Eerie Parallel In An 80-Year-Old Murder
On February 12, 1993, a young child, James Bulger, was lost in every sense to his mother and family.
James Patrick Bulger was born on March 16, 1990. He was 'snatched' by two 10-year-old boys whilst shopping with his mother, in the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle, Liverpool, England, on February 12, 1993.
On February 20 John Venables and Robert Thompson, both aged 10 at the time, were charged with the horrific murder of James, a toddler who was almost three-years-old.
Grainy CCTV images of the two 10-year-olds, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, send chilling shivers down the backbone. The boys initially appeared as if they were helping little James to find his mother but in truth they were leading him on a long, harrowing journey that would end in his death.
In February 1993 people in the UK read details of the shocking murder of two-year-old James. Revelations of the details of his horrific murder, by two children, sent shock-waves around the world.
The terrible details of how James was attacked, humiliated, made to suffer and then murdered are grim. The details need handling with sensitivity but they do need noting.
As SkyNews reported in 2015, "They took him to a railway embankment in Walton, Liverpool, where they tortured him, inflicting 42 injuries before leaving him dead on the tracks where a train severed his body". There were reports of a 'sexual element' to this murder but that was never proven.
Prior to his death the little boy was walked, dragged or marched a long distance, especially for a child so young. According to Wikipedia it was a meandering 2.5-mile (4.0 km) walk across Liverpool to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, where he was dropped on his head and suffered injuries to his face.
At least 38 people witnessed the children's journey, yet no person intervened.
Some just accepted the soon-to-be-killers version of events that James was their young brother and they were taking him home.
It highlights how we should never be afraid to challenge, interfere or call it what you will; your actions could save a life.
James was killed on February 12, 1993, but his body was not located for two-days.
The killers had stolen various items from shops before they took James. Their original plan was to abduct a child and lead him 'to the busy road alongside the mall'. They would then push the child into the path of oncoming traffic. CCTV footage of the boys lurking in the shopping centre, before coming across James, is chilling.
The boy's mother momentarily lost sight of her young son and he was gone."
Both Venables and Thompson were released from prison some time ago. Both of the young killers served just eight years before they were released back into the community. Both were given new identities but Venables has struggled to meet the terms of his release.
Venables was first given a new identity when he and Thompson were sent to a young offenders' institution and a second new identity was created for him when he was released in 2001; he was given a third identity after he was sent back to jail in 2010 for possessing child abuse images.
The authorities ignored the pleas of James' mother Denise Fergus to keep Venables in prison this time and he was released in 2013.
Reports that under his new fake identity he was allowed to join dating sites angered campaigners and especially the parents of James.
Venables is out on licence which includes strict rules. His parole is a life-long sentence meaning if he breaks the rules he could be jailed once and for all.
Little is reported of Robert Thompson who also has a new life.
[Thoughts with the family at this sad anniversary - RIP James]
Each year in January and February in Kingston-upon-Hull bereaved families from the long-gone fishing industry of the city remember those lost at sea in what was a particularly bad year, 1968, for the local trawler fishing community.
58 men died, and one person survived when three fishing trawlers sailing out of the port of Hull in January 1968 sank.
The three vessels sank within a few weeks or days of each other and highlighted the tough and sometimes brutal conditions these fishermen endured to earn a living and supply the country with fish to eat.
Changes and improvements to working conditions finally arrived but the industry was already on its knees and the British trawler industry never recovered.
The Hull vessels lost in 1968 were:
The FV Gaul is perhaps the most famous Hull vessel lost.
Constructed in 1972 the Gaul sailed out of Hull on the morning of January 22, 1974, with 36 crew on board, and sailed into a list of conspiracy theories and mysteries.
On February 8, 1974, sea conditions were dire and reports from other vessels said waves were reaching a height of between 6.5 and 9m, the wind was blowing between 7 and 10 on the Beaufort scale.
They and the Gaul were in icy cold fishing waters off Norway.
"The Gaul reported to British United Trawlers that she was "laid and dodging off the North Cape Bank" and was in touch one more but something went wrong.
The other British vessels fishing in the area were safe but the Gaul was lost and in spite of several false flags down the years and many conspiracy theories its loss remains a mystery.
In 2013 the mystery of the Gaul looked likely to be solved but it was not. We asked "Will DNA testing on bodies washed up in Russia link back to the Gaul" but the answer was no.
Theories include claims that the Gaul was a spy ship, was scuppered by the crew, was an insurance job, that the crew lived on but abroad all flourished but the mystery remains unsolved and a painful one for the loved ones of the crew.
Locally most people know at least one person, closely or indirectly that was lost at sea. My late grandfather died in 1941 on a merchant navy vessel that was sunk by a German U boat.
My late father-in-law worked on Icelandic fishing trawlers that sailed out of Hull until around 1962 when a winch slipped on board while working off Iceland and severed all the fingers of one of his hands
Hull has or should that be had a proud tradition and history as seafarers.
Each year a memorial service is held locally.
No trace of the Gaul has ever been found.
As a child news of missing trawlers was nothing unusual. With no direct links to the seamen back then it was just 'the news'.
To people like my in-laws it was hold-your-breath-news.
May they all rest in peace
Telegraph - Gaul trawler sunk by wave not submarine
The Gaul Blogspot
[The video below asks do the British government have something to hide?]
On this Day in History
The following pages carry notable dates for each month of the year while this blog will carry features for some of those dates:
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