ST. PETERSBURG -- A large graffiti portrait of a Russian tank officer who was convicted of murdering a Chechen woman has been painted near a St. Petersburg bridge that local authorities want to name after the father of Chechnya's authoritarian leader, Ramzan Kadyrov.
The painting appears to be a protest against a decision to name the bridge after Akhmad Kadyrov, a Chechen separatist militia leader who fought Russian forces before switching sides and becoming Chechnya's president in 2003.
Several demonstrations have been sparked by plans to name the bridge after Akhmad Kadyrov, who was assassinated in 2004.
The graffiti portrait, which appeared on June 9, depicts the late Colonel Yury Budanov in a military uniform with his name written in blood-red letters.
Despite his conviction for murdering an 18-year-old Chechen woman, Budanov enjoyed wide support in Russia. But he was hated by many in Chechnya, including pro-Russian Chechens.
Budanov was shot dead in Moscow in 2011, two years after being released on parole from a Russian prison.