Russian Opposition To Pay Tribute To Slain Kremlin Critic Nemtsov

Russian opposition activists plan to pay tribute to slain opposition politician Boris Nemtsov in central Moscow on February 27.

The sixth anniversary of Nemtsov’s death comes after Russia’s jailing of opposition political leader Aleksei Navalny and a crackdown on his allies.

Navalny’s allies have called on his supporters to observe a minute of silence and lay flowers on the Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge — a short walk from the Kremlin — where Nemtsov was gunned down on February 27, 2015.

Navalny’s allies have declared a pause on protests until spring after authorities responded forcefully to a wave of national demonstrations, detaining more than 10,000 people in dozens of cities and filing administrative and criminal cases against many of them.

Last week, a Moscow court upheld a 2 1/2 year prison sentence imposed on Navalny earlier in February for a parole violation related to a previous embezzlement conviction.

The opposition said it planned a “memorial event,” not a rally, to pay tribute to Nemtsov on February 27.

WATCH: Battle Goes On For ‘Nemtsov Bridge’ Memorial

Moscow authorities rejected a request for opposition supporters to hold a commemorative march due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On February 27, the Boris Nemtsov Foundation For Freedom awarded Navalny the Boris Nemtsov Prize for Courage.

In a statement, it said “Navalny has not only demonstrated incredible personal courage, but has also made an outstanding contribution to exposing corruption and increasing citizens’ engagement in Russia’s still-existing political procedures.”

The foundation called for the “immediate release” of the 44-year-old.

Supporters of Nemtsov have maintained a memorial on Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge ever since his death despite police, city workers, and others regularly destroying or removing it. A volunteer died in August 2017 after he was beaten on the bridge.

Nemtsov was an ardent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Five Chechens have been found guilty of involvement in his killing, but critics, including relatives and colleagues of Nemtsov, say Russian authorities failed to determine who ordered it.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP