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Russia angry over US renaming embassy street after slain Putin critic

The street on which the Russian embassy sits in Washington has been renamed after Boris Nemtsov, who was shot outside the Kremlin in 2015.

world Updated: Jan 11, 2018 11:08 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service, Washington
Russia,United States of America,Russian Embassy
This file photo taken on December 31, 2016 shows the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC. The street along the Russian Embassy in Washington will become the "Boris Nemtsov Plaza".(AFP)

The US administration has renamed the street the Russian embassy sits on after a murdered Russian opposition politician prompting criticism from Moscow with one its leaders labelling it a “dirty trick”.

The Washington DC city council voted to rename the street outside Russia’s embassy complex after Boris Nemtsov, who was shot outside the Kremlin in 2015, the BBC reported.

A statement from the city council said the decision to honour the “slain democracy activist” was passed unanimously.

The decision was specifically targeted at “the portion of Wisconsin Avenue in front of the Russian Embassy”, according to the Washington council’s statement.

Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted the leader of the nationalist LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, as saying US authorities “specifically want to play dirty tricks in front of the Russian Embassy”.

Another politician from the Communist Party Dmitry Novikov said: “The US authorities have long been absorbed in their own game of interfering in Russian internal affairs.”

Nemtsov, a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was shot in February 2015 while walking home from a restaurant in Moscow.

A small memorial near where he was killed has frequently been vandalised, or cleared away by street cleaners late at night, the BBC report said.

His daughter, Zhanna, travelled to Washington DC in early December to advocate for the name change.

She said: “The current Russian political regime wants to eradicate the memory of my father, since it believes - correctly - that symbols are important and that they can potentially facilitate and inspire change.”

She said her father was “an open-minded patriot of Russia” who deserved to be commemorated.

“For now, we cannot do it in Russia because of unprecedented resistance on the part of the Russian authorities. But we have a chance to do it here - and here, it will be very difficult to dismantle,” the BBC quoted her as saying.

In 2017, five Chechen men were convicted for Nemtsov’s killing, but family and supporters of the slain politician believe the person who ordered the murder remains at large.

The Washington DC decision comes a day after Turkey similarly renamed the street the UAE embassy sits upon in Ankara, naming it after a military commander at the centre of a diplomatic spat.

First Published: Jan 11, 2018 11:07 IST