Thousands march through Moscow in honor of Kremlin critic Nemtsov

World Today

RUSSIA-OPPOSITION-POLITICS-RALLY-NEMSTOV-MEMORIAL People carry flags andplacards during an opposition march in memory of murdered Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov in central Moscow on February 25, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Maxim ZMEYEV)

Thousands marched in Moscow to commemorate the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. Three years ago, the well-known critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin was shot dead near the Kremlin.

Authorities gave permission for Sunday’s memorial rally, but for many it was also a protest against the ruling party, just weeks before presidential elections.

CGTN’s Lucy Taylor reports.
Follow Lucy Taylor on Twitter @LucyTaylor

More than 7,000 people filled the streets, commemorating one person.

Boris Nemtsov was an outspoken Russian opposition leader, murdered late at night in central Moscow in 2015.

“He was an icon of democracy,” march co-organizer Sergei Kusmin said. “He was our teacher, and an example of how we should proceed.” 

Nemtsov supporters march every year in his honor, carrying flowers to lay at the spot where he died.

The procession is much more than a memorial march, however. Attendees believe Nemtsov was killed because he was too critical of those in power. This year, with presidential elections just weeks away, they say they are standing up for democracy itself.

RUSSIA-OPPOSITION-POLITICS-RALLY-NEMSTOV-MEMORIAL

A man lays flowers in central Moscow on February 25, 2018 at the site where late opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was fatally shot on a bridge near the Kremlin. (AFP PHOTO / Vasily MAXIMOV)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win next month’s vote easily, but with his main challenger barred from running for office, some feel these protests are their only platform.

“I wanted to protest our government and its policies,” one marcher said. “I think they are leading our country in a totally wrong direction.”

“Nobody cares but us,” according to another. “It is very important for our political life, our political future, and our civil future.”

Five men were convicted last year of killing Boris Nemtsov, though the question of who ordered the killing remains.