WASHINGTON -- The local government for the city of Washington, D.C., has renamed the street where Russia’s embassy is located, honoring the memory of slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in a move that Moscow has complained about.
Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr., the chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation For Freedom, said on February 6 that an official ceremony to rename the block of Wisconsin Avenue as Boris Nemtsov Plaza is scheduled for February 27, the third anniversary of Nemtsov's assassination.
Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and longtime critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead on a bridge in Moscow just meters from the Kremlin walls.
In a Twitter post on February 6, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (Republican-Florida) responded to news of the city council's vote by saying, "It's official. Let this serve as a reminder to Putin and his cronies that murder, violence, and intimidation will not silence dissent."
Nemtsov's assassination drew international condemnation and highlighted the dangers faced by Russians who oppose the Kremlin.
Nemtsov's supporters have repeatedly sought to get permission to place a formal plaque or monument at the site of his killing.
But Moscow city officials have denied permission. Makeshift memorials of flowers laid out by Nemtsov's supporters at the site are regularly dismantled and taken away with unusual speed.
In July, a Moscow court found five men from Russia's North Caucasus region of Chechnya guilty of killing Nemtsov and sentenced them to lengthy prison terms.
But relatives and associates charge that his assassination was ordered at a higher level. They say justice will not be served until the person or people who ordered his assassination are identified and prosecuted.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has criticized the move by city authorities in the U.S. capital, accusing U.S. lawmakers of "manipulating" the slain politician's name.