A plaza dedicated to the Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov has been unveiled in the U.S. capital of Washington, three years after the politician was gunned down on a bridge by the Kremlin on Feb. 27, 2015.
A Washington city council decided to rename the section in front of the Russian Embassy in memory of Nemtsov in early January, leading to angry reactions from Russian lawmakers. Russian police and pro-Kremlin activists have previously removed all plaques placed by Nemtsov's supporters in Moscow, although the mayor’s office allowed a march in his memory last week.
Leonid Slutsky, head of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, said the re-naming was a "crude and harsh decision, made to pique us, though it's the prerogative of the American authorities that they thought they could offend us with."
One conservative MP has proposed renaming the street in front of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow “North American Dead End, 1."
Nemtsov’s supporters in Moscow previously requested to rename Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge, where the politician was murdered, in his honor, but Moscow officials have refused the request, the Vedomosti business daily reported.
Last week, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced that a plaque dedicated to Nemtsov could be set up at the building in which he lived, pending the approval of local residents.
Vladimir Kara-Murza, a friend of Nemtsov’s who chairs a foundation in his honor, said Nemtsov would not himself have wanted a plaque.
“The best possible tribute to him and to his legacy will be a free and democratic Russia, and that day will come,” Kara-Murza was cited as saying by The Washington Post on Tuesday.