Rallies and marches in memory of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov were held in 15 Russian cities on February, 24.
The biggest event took place in Moscow: according to the movement White Counter (Белый Счётчик), about 10,800 people took part in it. The demonstrators carried portraits of Nemtsov, Russian flags, posters and banners. They chanted ‘Russia will be free’ and ‘Kadyrov is the shame of Russia’. Several activists had Ukrainian flags and portraits of Oleg Sentsov. Despite the fact that the march in the Russian capital had been authorized, the police still created obstacles in the participants’ way. However, there were no сlashes; only one person was detained.
In contrast to previous events in memory of Boris Nemtsov, Sunday’s rally was of a clearly pronounced political nature. There is no other opportunities to express their dissent, people say:
‘The word ‘democracy’ has been forgotten and buried.’
“What is going on in the country is terrible, that is why I have come here. I do not know what to do. I am not able to have influence on anything, there are no elections in the country. I am here because it is a shame just to stay at home.”
According to politician Gennady Gudkov, it took the organizers three days to make the Moscow authorities give their consent to holding the march. But they demanded the number of participants should not exceed 10,000. When independent observers counted that more than 10,000 persons went through security cordon, the police closed the passage without any explanation and nobody else was let in. Later, however, the Department of Interior reported only 6,000 were present.
“It is not about the number of participants. In 1968, only seven persons came to the Red Square to protest against the invasion of Czechoslovakia, but they saved the honour of the rest of the country, the honour of the whole society,” politician Vladimir Kara-Murza said.
Although the local authorities were holding off on authorizing the rally In St.Petersburg, but about 800 people showed up at the event.
During Yeltsin’s presidency, Boris Nemtsov was Governor of Nizhny Novgorod region and then Deputy Prime Minister. From 2000 until his death, he was a critic of Vladimir Putin. Boris Nemtsov was killed on February 27, 2015 at the very heart of Moscow, a few hundred meters from the Kremlin. In 2017, a Russia court found five people guilty of murdering Nemtsov; they were sentenced to prison terms of 11 to 20 years. It is still unknown who ordered and organized the assassination.
Маrch in Moscow. Photo: Katerina Linnikova