Thousands mark anniversary of Kremlin critic Nemtsov’s homicide

Opposition supporters laid flowers on the bridge in central Moscow the place Nemtsov was killed six years in the past.

Several thousand folks commemorated the anniversary of the 2015 homicide of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov in central Moscow on Saturday, following a clampdown on protests over the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny.

With a minimal police presence on the scene, opposition supporters laid flowers on the bridge in central Moscow the place Nemtsov was gunned down on the evening of February 27 six years in the past.

Nemtsov briefly served as deputy prime minister within the late 1990s earlier than becoming a member of the opposition, and Russian information companies mentioned the ambassadors of a number of Western international locations had been amongst those that attended Saturday’s commemoration.

“We come together in this place on this day every year to show the authorities that we have not forgotten and will not forget,” former prime minister and opposition politician Mikhail Kasyanov advised journalists on the rally.

“I am sure that what Boris fought for – freedom for Russians, their wellbeing and a dignified life – will soon come about,” he added.

2021 02 27T115936Z 40842155 RC2Z0M9ZAVCT RTRMADP 3 RUSSIA POLITICS NEMTSOV ANNIVERSARYRussian opposition figures Yulia Galyamina and Vladimir Kara-Murza place flowers on the website of Nemtsov’s homicide [Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters]

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken in an announcement mentioned the US remained “deeply troubled by the Russian government’s growing intolerance of all forms of independent expression”.

He mentioned Nemtsov “dedicated his life to building a free and democratic Russia.”

‘Memorial, not a rally’

Allies of Navalny, who was jailed this month on parole violations he mentioned had been trumped up, have declared a brief moratorium on avenue protests.

They introduced the protest freeze after a number of nationwide rallies had been damaged up by police, who detained greater than 11,000 folks, in response to a monitoring group.

But the opposition urged Muscovites to return to pay their respects to Nemtsov whereas observing social distancing and carrying face masks. Several volunteers handed masks to individuals.

2021 02 27T115300Z 1336596948 RC2Z0M9MNLE2 RTRMADP 3 RUSSIA POLITICS NEMTSOV ANNIVERSARYA girl places flowers on the website of the assassination of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, marking the sixth anniversary of his loss of life, in central Moscow, Russia, February 27, 2021 [Tatyana Makeyeva/Reuters]

Moscow authorities turned down a request for them to carry a commemorative march because of the pandemic, however Saturday’s gathering was allowed to go forward.

“This is a memorial event, not a rally or a march,” mentioned an announcement signed by a number of opposition politicians and posted on social media.

“We recommend that you refrain from bringing posters. There is no need to give any reasons for the police to detain [participants].”

Nemtsov had been engaged on a report analyzing Russia’s function within the battle in Ukraine on the time of his killing.

After his homicide, opposition activists started guarding a makeshift memorial on the bridge when municipal authorities turned down a request to place up a plaque there in his honour.

City employees have taken down the memorial on a number of events over time. Police detained eight folks final week as they tried to put flowers on the memorial after it was dismantled by police.

In 2017 a court docket sentenced 5 males to between 11 and 20 years in jail for his or her involvement in Nemtsov’s homicide, however the late politician’s allies mentioned on the time that the individuals who had ordered his killing remained at massive.