Moscow, Russia - February 27, 2016: Procession in memory of the murdered politician Boris Nemtsov

Prague to rename square near Russian embassy after slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov

Prague, Feb 7 (CTK) – The Pod Kastany square in Prague, where the Russian embassy is situated, will probably be renamed after the murdered Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, Mayor Zdenek Hrib said today, adding that the plan is sure of support in the City Assembly that may take a vote on it later this month.

Hrib (Pirates) spoke to server Aktualne.cz.

According to Aktualne.cz, the city’s toponymic commission has nodded to the renaming, which may take place on February 27, when five years will have elapsed since the murder of Nemtsov.

At present, the name of the square in the Prague 6 District is namesti Pod kastany (Chestnut Trees Square).

The toponymic commission has also agreed with the plan to rename another public area after murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Her name might be borne by a promenade in the Stromovka Park situated in the Prague 6 and Prague 7 districts, Aktualne.cz has written.

“I expect us [City Assembly] to vote on this [the former proposal] on February 24, because I would like to stage the unveiling ceremony on the anniversary of Boris Nemtsov’s murder, optimally in the presence of Boris Nemtsov’s daughter,” Hrib told the server.

He said the three Prague coalition parties have discussed the proposal and all have supported it, “since we share values in this respect.”

Apart from the Pirates, the city government (council) comprises the Joint Forces alliance and the Prague to Itself movement.

Jiri Pospisil, who leads the Joint Forces group in the city assembly, tweeted that TOP 09, one of the alliance’s members, will support the proposal.

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Prague to Itself leader Jan Cizinsky said the renaming will be a symbol. “It supports the people who are ready to complicate their lives for themselves, are brave and eventually pay for their bravery. We need such people in any regime, they did something extraordinary and it is good to remember them,” Cizinsky told Aktualne.cz.

The toponymic commission released its approving position today. A role in its decision was also played by the fact that no one has permanent residence in the square in question, which is why no one would have to apply for new personal documents. In addition, the name Pod kastany will remain preserved for an adjacent street, the commission said, cited by the server.

Previously, the squares outside the Russian embassies were renamed after Nemtsov by Washington and Vilnius.

Hrib said he does not believe that the renaming of the Prague square after Nemtsov, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, might be viewed as a provocation by Moscow.

“I don’t understand at all why one should assess it this way. We are speaking about a former Russian deputy prime minister and Russia’s former successful regional politician, who was assassinated,” Hrib told Aktualne.cz.

Nemtsov was Russian deputy PM under president Boris Yeltsin in 1997-1998. After his departure from parliament in 2003, he co-organised street protests against the Putin regime and criticised the Kremlin for the worsening economic situation, corruption and Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.

He was repeatedly arrested for joining protests. He was shot dead in Moscow on February 27, 2015, a few days before a demonstration against Putin and the war in Ukraine. A group of Chechens was convicted of the murder, but the crime’s initiator was never detected.

Politkovskaya was one of the best known Russian journalists and human rights promoters. In her articles, she sharply criticised the violation of the rights of civilians in Chechnya by Russian units. Being an uncompromising critic of Putin, she wrote about the police and judicial “mafia” in Russia. She was murdered in Moscow on October 7, 2006. In 2014, the court sentenced the two main perpetrators to life, but the initiator of the murder remains unknown.

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