It seemed at the time — we would not be allowed to raise our heads…

27.02.2021

Moscow, Bolshoy Moskvoretskiy Bridge (Nemtsov Bridge)

Night watch on February 27, 2021

Boris Nemtsov Memorial

There are 2192 days on the counter…

27.02.2021, nighttime

Exactly one week ago, I was walking in the morning after the evening sweep and police, admiring the sunrise and realising that such beauty, such power may never be there for me again at Nemtsov Bridge.

It seemed then — they would not let us raise our heads.

It seemed at the time that we, a small group of people, had no chance against the state. We could not withstand it. But … but we do not know our strength. The memorial began to revive. Despite new detentions, despite new sweeps, Memorial was reborn.

27.02.2021. Night duty at Nemtsov Bridge. Memorial

The people on duty who had retreated a step because of the pandemic appeared, but were there for us. And once again it became clear that we are all one, that we are all together. But perhaps most importantly, all these days, people were carrying flowers. People supported. People were transferring money, and this money was used to rebuild the memorial, and we felt that we weren’t alone, that there were tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people behind us.

After the second detention, I decided that I would not be on duty at the Memorial anytime soon. That was the sensible thing to do. But things don’t always work out the way you plan. At two o’clock in the morning I knew that I would go to the Memorial, that it was the right thing to do, that it was the right thing to do. At the beginning of four o’clock I was there.

Was I afraid? Maybe a little bit. All these explanations with the police, trips to the police department, I didn’t need or like.

Timofey was on the bridge. The police were on duty on the landing in front of the stairs, occasionally strolling up and down the Bridge. The police did not pay any attention to us.

27.02.2021. Night duty at Nemtsov Bridge. Police. Change shift
27.02.2021. Night duty at Nemtsov Bridge. Police

Two lads came over. They brought carnations, tied with funeral ribbon.

A girl came. She looks at the Memorial: there are tears in her eyes. And then she starts resenting the police, resenting what’s going on in the country.

It’s amazing, but after all the clean-up, after all that’s been going on at the Bridge all this week, the Memorial is beautiful. It’s not big. It’s frozen in place, waiting for more and more visitors.

27.02.2021. Nemtsov Memorial Bridge night duty and a girl
27.02.2021. Nemtsov Memorial Bridge night duty
27.02.2021. Nemtsov Memorial Bridge night duty

Outside, the rain and snow starts and stops.

At 7 o’clock Marina came. And then it started snowing heavily. We’ll see what happens next…

Today is Nemtsov’s memorial day. The day he died. Six years since that tragic moment.

© Karina Starostina

27.02.2021. Nemtsov Bridge night duty. Timofey and the girl. Police

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