Washington DC Renames Russian Embassy Street After Slain Opposition MP

Washington DC has renamed the street the Russian embassy sits on after a murdered Russian opposition politician.

The city council voted to rename the street outside Russia’s embassy complex after Boris Nemtsov, who was shot outside the Kremlin in 2015.

A statement from the council said the decision to honour the “slain democracy activist” passed unanimously.

Russian politicians criticised the move, with one MP labelling it a “dirty trick”.

The decision was specifically targeted at “the portion of Wisconsin Avenue in front of the Russian Embassy”, according to the Washington council’s statement.

Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted the leader of the nationalist LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, as saying US authorities “specifically want to play dirty tricks in front of the Russian Embassy”.

Another politician from the Communist Party, Dmitry Novikov, told the agency: “The US authorities have long been absorbed in their own game of interfering in Russian internal affairs.”

Mr Nemtsov, a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was shot in February 2015 while walking home from a restaurant in Moscow.

A small memorial near where he was killed has frequently been vandalised, or cleared away by street cleaners late at night.

His daughter, Zhanna, travelled to Washington DC in early December to advocate for the name change.

“The current Russian political regime wants to eradicate the memory of my father, since it believes – correctly – that symbols are important and that they can potentially facilitate and inspire change,” she told the council.

She said her father was “an open-minded patriot of Russia” who deserved to be commemorated.

“For now, we cannot do it in Russia because of unprecedented resistance on the part of the Russian authorities. But we have a chance to do it here – and here, it will be very difficult to dismantle,” she said.

Five Chechen men were convicted over Boris Nemtsov’s killing in mid-2017, but family and supporters of the slain politician believe the person who ordered the murder remains at large.

The Washington DC decision comes a day after Turkey similarly renamed the street the UAE embassy sits upon in Ankara, naming it after a military commander at the centre of a diplomatic spat.

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