(JTA) — In a move that Russian officials called a provocation, city authorities in Washington D.C. advanced the naming of a street adjacent to the Russian embassy street for a murdered Jewish Kremlin critic.
The Council of the District of Columbia on Tuesday unanimously approved plans to create Boris Nemtsov Plaza in honor of the former deputy prime minister, an opponent of President Vladimir Putin who was assassinated near the Kremlin in 2015. Nemtsov was Jewish. Mayor Muriel Bowser still needs to approve the bill for it to go into effect.
Leonid Slutsky, head of the State Duma’s international affairs committee, called the plan “rude, harsh and done to spite us”, adding: “The anti-Russian flywheel cranked up by the Obama administration continues to turn,” the TASS news agency reported.
The language of the bill passed by the council praises Nemtsov’s opposition to Putin specifically and alleges that Nemtsov’s 2015 slaying was over that criticism. Last year, five men from Chechenia were given lengthy prisons sentences for killing Nemtsov, though some critics of the Kremlin called the trials a cover up.
Council member Mary Cheh was the first to introduce in 2016 the legislation that led to the Street name change, according to Michael Khodorkovsky, a Kremlin critic who left Russia in 2013 after he was pardoned and released from jail on corruption charges, which critics said were trumped up by the Putin regime.
The square will now be known as Boris Nemtsov Plaza, making the Russian Embassy’s new address No. 1, Boris Nemtsov Plaza,” wrote Khodorkovsky, who also is Jewish.
Russian Embassy DC Street Renamed For Jewish Nemtsov