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Plaque Honoring Slain Opposition Politician Nemtsov Removed In Moscow

A plaque honoring slain opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was placed on the apartment block where he lived in Moscow on September 7.

A plaque honoring slain Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov that was placed on his apartment building in Moscow has been removed after less than one week.

Activist Tatyana Tikhonovich wrote on Facebook that the plaque placed on the wall of the apartment building went missing on September 12.

Meanwhile, Igor Beketov, the leader of a radical pro-Kremlin activist group called SERB, wrote on the VKontakte social network that the plaque was removed by SERB members and handed over to Moscow police.

The plaque read "Politician Boris Nemtsov -- who was murdered by a hired killer on February 27, 2015 -- lived here."

It had been placed on the wall on September 7 in a move initiated by Moscow city lawmaker Sergei Markov and supported by most of the apartment building's residents.

But Moscow authorities said hours after the plaque was installed that it was illegal because, according to Russian law, memorial plaques honoring individuals can only be put up in public 10 years after a person's death.

The law says the waiting time for memorial plaques can be reduced to two years with permission from a special commission.

Moscow city authorities had previously prevented activists from installing a plaque on the bridge near the Kremlin where Nemtsov was shot dead.

Nemtsov supporters have established a makeshift memorial to Nemtsov on the bridge.

Activists have organized a permanent watch at that memorial, which is made up of flowers and Nemtsov portraits, because it has been repeatedly ransacked or removed by police or unknown people.

In August, an activist died in hospital after he was attacked while guarding the makeshift memorial near the Kremlin.

In July, a Moscow court found five men from Russia's North Caucasus region of Chechnya guilty of Nemtsov's murder.

But relatives and associates of Nemtsov say they think the killing was ordered at a higher level.

They say justice will not be served until the person or people behind the slaying are identified and prosecuted.

As with previous killings-- including the killing of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006 -- government critics have voiced suspicion that the culprits will never face justice because an honest investigation could lead to figures who are close to Moscow-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov or to Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle.

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