Tens of thousands march in Moscow in memory of Boris Nemtsov. HRO.org reports

posted 8 Mar 2015, 23:54 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 9 Mar 2015, 00:00 ]
2 March 2015

Vera Vasilieva 

Source: HRO.org
A march in memory of Boris Nemtsov was held on the 1st of March 2015. The starting point was Slavyanskaya Square, across Kitai Gorod Proezd, along the Moscow Embankment, finally reaching the place of murder of the politician on Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge.

A protest march, entitled, “Spring”, had been co-organised by Boris Nemtsov for the same day in the capital’s Marino district. However, following the crime of 27th February it was decided to replace it with a march in memory of Boris Nemtsov.

An hour before the march was officially due to begin people began to arrive at the Kitai Gorod metro station with portraits of Boris Nemtsov, flowers, Russian flags with black ribbons hung on them and placards with “Fight On” [a play of the Russian word “Boris”], “I am not afraid” and “No words” written on them. It was striking how many Russian flags there were; in the organisers’ opinion recently ultra-patriots have tried to “privatise” this flag, to make it exclusively belong to them. At the same time, it is exactly this flag that had united those citizens who went out in August 1991 to protect the White House during the failed coup. Flags from the Yabloko and RPR-PARNAS parties, from the Solidarity movement, The Party of Progress and others were to be seen at the protest.

It took the HRO.org correspondent, who arrived at Slavyanskaya Square around 14:30, thirty minutes to get to the metal detector barriers, where police checked the bags of every participant of the march.

There was a very large number of people. The whole neighbourhood of Kitaigorod proezd was already packed, but more people kept on arriving and arriving.

Click here to see photos by HRO.org correspondent Vera Vasilieva from the march on 1 March 2015 in Moscow in memory of Boris Nemtsov

The HRO.org correspondent also noticed the silence, which was unusual for a mass event. The gathered people hardly shouted, they did not whistle, drum or argue with one another. Only the police helicopter traditionally loitering over the procession broke the silence.

The people walking at the front carried a banner reading “These bullets are aimed at everyone of us”. There were many recognisable faces there – the co-chair of RPR-PARNAS Mikhail Kasyanov, the chief editor of Daily Journal, blocked by Roskomnadzor, Alexander Ryklin, the politicians Gennady and Dmitry Gudkov and others. The HRO.org correspondent also met Oleg Orlov and Tatiana Kasatkina (from the Memorial Human Rights Centre), Vladimir Korsynsky (chief editor of the also-blocked internet publication “Grani.ru”), Sergei Mitrokhin (leader of the Yabloko party) and the deputy of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Aleksei Goncharenko.

The latter was wearing a T-shirt with a photo of Boris Nemtsov and the words “Heroes don’t die” written on it in Ukrainian. Later it was learnt that the Moscow police arrested him, despite his possession of a diplomatic passport. According to the radio station Ekho Moskvy, Aleksei Goncharenko may be prosecuted in Russia in relation to the events in Odessa of 2nd May last year. He wrote about his arrest himself in his blog on the portal “Ukrainian Truth”: “I did not shout anything. I did not carry placards or flags. I was arrested just because of a T-shirt.” Following intervention by the lawyer Mark Feygin and the Ukrainian Consulate he was released on their surety by the Kitai Gorod police department. On 2nd March he is to go to court on administrative charges of "disobeying the lawful demands of a police officer."

Boris Nemtsov was killed by four shots in the back. The slogans “These bullets are aimed at everyone of us”, “We won’t forget, we won’t forgive” and “Heroes don’t die” became the symbols of the entire march.

People stopped and laid flowers by the spot where the crime was committed. The mountain of flowers almost reached the height of a person. Candles were lit and portraits of Boris Nemtsov, newspapers with his articles and icons were placed on the area. Somebody even brought a teddy bear.

Mikhail Kasyanov also gave a short speech there, declaring that all the democratic forces of Russia will continue the fight led by Nemtsov for truth and freedom.

According to preliminary information from the Moscow city police department, about 7,000 people took part in the march. This estimate was later corrected at first to 16,500 and then to up to 20,000. Meanwhile according to the civil society project “White Counter” 51,600 people took part in the march in memory of Boris Nemtsov.

Tranlsated by Chloe Cranston