02 Mar, 2021

‘The memory of Boris will not be erased, no matter how the authorities want it’

ALDE member parties in Russia, PARNAS and Yabloko, have paid tribute in remembrance of Russian opposition and liberal leader Boris Nemtsov who was murdered six years ago on 27 February 2015 near the Kremlin.

The annual march in his memory was not permitted due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the organisers called on supporters to lay flowers at his memorial instead and requested that city authorities do not interfere and remove the site. However, one week ago the makeshift memorial was cleared again by authorities and volunteers who maintained the photos and flowers on the Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge were detained in what was later described as a “misunderstanding”.

On 27 February, the leaders of the Party of People's Freedom (PARNAS) laid flowers at the national memorial, and the deputy chairman of the Party, historian Andrei Zubov held a civil service for Boris Nemtsov.

PARNAS chairman Mikhail Kasyanov said: "Every year we come here to celebrate this day and demonstrate to the authorities that we have not forgotten and will not forget. The memory of Boris will not be erased, no matter how the authorities want it. Today he is the banner of the struggle for freedom.”

Events were held in Arkhangelsk, Astrakhan, Volgograd, Irkutsk, Kazan, Kirov, Nizhny Novgorod, Orenburg, Perm, St. Petersburg, Yaroslavl and many other Russian cities. Parnas has announced its intention, once possible, to organise the Nemtsov March together with other political and public organisations.

The leaders of Yabloko, Nikolai Rybakov and Grigory Yavlinsky also laid flowers on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, which Muscovites have taken to calling the Nemtsov Bridge.

Nikolai Rybakov, Yabloko Chairman, said: “The government is attacking the rights of citizens - political, civil, and social. The authorities violate not only the human right to freedom of speech, but also the right to life. And the Nemtsov Bridge by the walls of the Kremlin became a symbol of how people are murdered for their words and their position."

Grigory Yavlinsky, Yabloko founder, added: “The assassination of Boris Nemtsov is one of the most terrible and most obvious political assassinations of recent times. So far, the investigation has not led either to the identification of the customers, or to the explanation of the motives, and even the perpetrators who were found are doubtful. This is because President Vladimir Putin is politically responsible for the murder. Until the murder of Boris Nemtsov is solved and the motives and customers are revealed, it will be a bleeding wound on the body of Russian society."

Despite regional authorities in 21 Russian regions refusing to give permissions for Yabloko’s proposed marches in memory of Boris Nemtsov, the party organised single-person pickets, roundtables, and laid flowers in tribute across the country in his memory.

Photo credit: Parnas, Yabloko

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