Thousands marched through central Moscow on Sunday to commemorate murdered Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, calling for President Vladimir Putin to be ousted just three weeks before a presidential election. Nemtsov, one of Putin’s most vocal critics, was shot dead on Feb. 27, 2015 as he walked across a bridge near the Kremlin. Aged 55, he had been working on a report examining Russia’s role in the conflict in Ukraine. His killing sent a chill through opposition circles, and initiated annual marches in Moscow that have united different opposition parties and those discontented with the authorities. Some blame Putin for Nemtsov’s death but he has never responded to such accusations. In 2015, he said the murder had a “provocative nature” and later that he was closely watching the investigation process.
“Nemtsov’s murder is a political act of terror. All the responsibility for the murder is on Putin,” presidential candidate for the Yabloko liberal party, Grigory Yavlinsky told Dozhd TV channel in a live broadcast from the march.
According to White Counter, an NGO that counts participants at rallies using metal detector frames, around 7,600 people took part in the Moscow march for which organisers had been granted permission by the city authorities.