Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
27th February, 2016
Moscow’s “March of memory”, dedicated to the anniversary of the murder of Boris Nemtsov, assembled, according to data from the independent project Mob Counter, 14,356 people. The police argued that there was almost half that number of participants — 7,500 activists. Earlier the organizers of the rally said that at least 50,000 people will gather in the capital to pay tribute to the tragically deceased politician.
The participants of the funeral procession gathered at Chekhovskaya metro for about 13 hours of the day. Then people went in columns from Sretensky Boulevard to the Holy Monastery and then to Sakharov Avenue.
Initially, the organizers of the “March of memory” wanted to hold a march to the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, where he was shot dead. However, Moscow authorities did not allow it. However, all who wished to lay flowers at the place of death of the politician could do so privately. On the morning of the memorial of the murder of Boris Nemtsov the U.S Ambassador to Russia, John Tefft, visited and laid a wreath; he paid tribute to the former Vice-Premier in a moment of silence.
When announcing the rally, the organizers assured the public that the action will be purely memorial in nature. But the promise was never fulfilled, as was stated to the correspondent of “Moskovsky Komsomolets” by one of organizers of the event – Alexander Ryklin. “This is more a political event than an event of memory”, — he said.
The participants were holding placards and banners with the slogans “Crimea is not ours!”, “Killed for freedom” and chanted: “Russia will be free!”. Flags were waved above the crowd near the Parnassus, “Democratic choice”, “Solidarity”, “Progress Party” of Alexei Navalny and the state flag of Ukraine. Several activists came in embroidered shirts.
One of the participants, displaying purely political slogans in glory of Ukraine, tried to be rebellious, but was immediately detained by law enforcement bodies.
And yet some bloggers were outraged that none of the leaders of the non-systematic opposition, having come to the “March of memory”, where there were a lot of journalists from the Federal media, had not considered it necessary to go to the cemetery of Nemtsov in honour of that tragic day.
Only 16 people, plus Anton Nemtsov, the son of former Deputy Prime Minister, came to lay flowers on the grave of the politician.
“About five journalists and ordinary citizens came who laid flowers and paid tribute in silence”, — said the correspondent of “Ridus”.
“It is very tragic that neither Mikhail Kasyanov or Ilya Yashin came to the cemetery, or any other famous people who call themselves friends of Boris Nemtsov. It does not say anything good about these personalities. There is the feeling that they preferred to go to the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky bridge, because there are a lot of journalists, TV cameras, there is an opportunity once again to shine and show themselves”, — said two elderly women who came to the grave.
“Yes, famous people were not here. No Gudkov, or anyone else. I’ve been here since the morning,” confirmed the girl, who asked that we did not reveal her name.
A procession in memory of Boris Nemtsov ended at about 15:30. Serious violations of public order were recorded.