Members of Russia’s opposition plan are planning to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the assassination of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov in central Moscow on Saturday amid a series of protests against the imprisonment of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
The allies of Navalny, who were detained this month for violating the condition he said were trumped, have urged their supporters to lay flowers on the Moscow bridge where Nemtsov was shot dead on February 27, 2015, near the Kremlin.
Navalny’s allies have declared a moratorium on street protests until the spring after several nationwide rallies were broken up by police who detained more than 11,000 people, according to a monitoring group.
But the opposition urged Muscovites to come to praise Nemtsov while observing social distancing and wearing medical masks. Moscow authorities rejected a request for a memorial march due to the pandemic.
“This is a memorial event, not a demonstration or a march,” said opposition politicians. “We recommend that you refrain from bringing posters. There is no need to give reasons for the police to detain (participants).”
Nemtsov, who briefly served as deputy prime minister in the late 1990s before joining the opposition, had been working on a report examining Russia’s role in the conflict in Ukraine when he was killed.
After his assassination, opposition activists began guarding a makeshift memorial on the bridge when municipal authorities rejected a request to put up a plaque in his honor.
City workers have taken down the memorial on several occasions over the years. Police arrested eight people last week for trying to lay flowers at the memorial after it was dismantled by police.
In 2017, a court sentenced five men to between 11 and 20 years in prison for their involvement in Nemtsov’s assassination, but the late politician’s ally said at the time that the people who had ordered his killing remained largely unchanged.