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The Daily Vertical: Why Is The Kremlin Still Afraid Of Boris Nemtsov? (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

So why is the Kremlin so afraid of honoring Boris Nemtsov's memory?

In the more than 18 months since the opposition leader and former deputy prime minister was slain, the authorities have repeatedly rejected appeals for a permanent memorial on the downtown Moscow bridge where he was shot dead.

And adding insult to injury, pro-Kremlin groups have repeatedly vandalized the makeshift memorials that Nemstov's supporters have erected there.

This week, however, Nemtsov's supporters are giving it another try.

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State Duma deputy Dmitry Gudkov and journalist Timofey Dzyadko have sent 30,000 signatures to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin calling for a small plaque that simply reads: "In everlasting memory of Boris Nemtsov who was killed at this location on February 27, 2015."

Few, however, expect the effort to be successful.

Because for Vladimir Putin's regime, the memory of Boris Nemtsov is a dangerous thing -- perhaps more dangerous than Nemtsov the man ever was.

It's dangerous because it represents an honest form of politics that the Kremlin elite shuns.

It's dangerous because it reminds people of a man who was willing to give up his official privileges and take to the streets to fight for what he believed in.

It's dangerous because Nemtsov symbolizes the Russia that could have been -- but never was.

His memory will be honored someday, but certainly not by this regime. They're still afraid of Nemtsov and everything he represents.

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