Boris Nemtsov's murder five years on
Citizens in many Russian cities commemorated the opposition politician and Putin critic Boris Nemtsov yesterday. Nemtsov, who was deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltsin and touted as his possible successor was shot dead in the immediate vicinity of the Kremlin on 27 February 2015. To this day it remains unclear who commissioned his assasination.
Monuments in our minds
Commemorating Nemtsov has become an act of political resistance, Novaya Gazeta says:
“In Moscow there is still no official memorial for Nemtsov. Activists have been fighting for years for the bridge [on which Nemtsov was shot] to be renamed Nemtsov Bridge, for a plaque to be placed there and for the bridge to become a fully-fledged monument. At some point this will happen; such murders cannot be erased from the memory of a country. The attempts to do this didn't succeed in the 1930s and they won't succeed now. Every year there are commemorative rallies in many cities in Nemtsov's honour. They have long since been transformed into demonstrations of civil dignity: those who are in favour of fair elections and against political trials take part in the commemoration of Nemtsov on this day.”
A reformer of the post-Soviet era
Nemtsov made a decisive contribution to modernising Russia in the 1990s, Polityka points out:
“The politician rose quickly. Among other things he was the youngest governor in Russia's history and deputy prime minister. Older politicians called him 'the young reformer'. When he was barely 38, Nemtsov aimed to create a 'new climate' with a touch of rebellion and freshness. For some time he succeeded. He dealt with social issues, fought against the disorderly privatisation and monopolisation of the economy, and tried to liberalise the market, especially when it came to oil and gas. Thanks to him, a mobile telephone network developed in a relatively short period of time in Russia which was also available in remote regions.”