Just over a week after Boris Nemtsov, a Russian politician and outspoken activist, was assassinated in Moscow, the Russian government appears to have found his killers. The Federal Security Service announced on Saturday that it has detained Anzor Gubashev and Zaur Dadayev, two men from Russia's northern Caucasus region, under suspicion that they organized and carried out Nemtsov's murder. Neither man has been formally charged, but it isn't a surprise that Moscow apprehended them so quickly. The assassination occurred in one of the the country's most heavily surveilled districts, and security cameras captured clear images of the suspects.
The relative anonymity of the suspects raises doubts, however, that they acted on their own volition. Neither man appeared to know Nemtsov; Zhanna Nemtsova, the victim's daughter, in turn has said she has no idea who they were. Instead, Nemtsov's murder follows the pattern of high-profile assassinations under the rule of Vladimir Putin, Russia's de facto ruler since 2000: The killers, when they're apprehended at all, are usually little more than hired hands. Last year, a Russian court convicted five men for carrying out the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya, a crusading journalist gunned down outside of her apartment building in 2006. The men went to jail—but the person responsible for ordering the hit remains unknown. Nemtsov's murder is also not the first time that men from the Caucasus—a region torn apart by violent conflict since the 1990s—have been involved.