Battle to honour slain Putin critic Nemtsov unfolds beneath Kremlin towers

02.02.2016
Andrew Osborn for Reuters
Original article, Reuters
VIDEO


As the Kremlin clock inched toward midnight and the ice-bound river beneath their feet melted, a group of Russians silently stood on the bridge where Boris Nemtsov, the Putin critic and opposition leader, was killed nearly a year ago.

«This is about remembering,» Boris Kazadayev, 73, part of the small crowd, told Reuters. «If there is no collective memory, the country won’t have a future.»

Moments later, a snow plough mounted the pavement forcing the crowd to the kerb. Two trucks then reversed within inches of people’s backs and trapped them before dumping piles of snow around them.

«Nemtsov Bridge» — activists’ nickname for the spot where the Putin opponent was shot dead on Feb. 27 last year — has become the scene of a cat-and-mouse struggle between the authorities and the liberal opposition who want to honor a man some Russians say the Kremlin would rather forget.

Supporters bring flowers for a makeshift shrine; the authorities sweep the site clean; his supporters rebuild. It’s a sequence that has played out repeatedly, in all weathers, for at least 300 days.

«It is a model of peaceful resistance that is unique for modern Russia,» said Olga Shorina, a Nemtsov ally.

«It has become a symbol of the fact that there’s a desire for an alternative.»

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Olga Lekhtonen: «This is only about God…»

22.03.2015
Olga Lekhtonen wrote at

«This is only about God. Because what really matters here is truth, and truth cannot be slain, even by four bullets to the back»


Well, after getting enough sleep I finally feel ready to relate what has happened.

It was all great. About 150 people came to the memorial. They were zealous and ready to work as one big team. There were no excuses offered, there was no hesitation.It was as if they’d always been doing this job. After we had lit the candles , we set the sign with the words ‘Nemtsov Bridge’. The sign is blue, as everything in sight on Moscow’s buildings must be this color.

I’d give anything just for there no longer to be a reason to hang the sign. I’ve still got a book on Yaroslavl sitting on my shelf. On the bridge there’s still in place something we call a mourning calendar, which counts the days since Boris was murdered. I still remember how I felt when I first saw our duty gyus removing the flowers from the memorial. I was totally devastated. What I saw has been eating me ever since. In any case, I’ve overcome my fear and found my courage. I’ve always had to find strength within myself.
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