[00:00.00]The local government in Washington, D.C. has approved plans to rename one of the city’s streets after Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.
[00:15.63]The street is in front of the Russian embassy to the United States.
[00:22.44]Nemtsov, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was killed in 2015.
[00:31.25]Time magazine reports that Russian lawmakers have criticized the plan.
[00:38.61]On January 9, the Council of the District of Columbia passed a measure called the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act.
[00:52.48]Every member of the council voted to approve the renaming of the street "on an emergency basis."
[01:02.06]The measure renames the part of Wisconsin Avenue that is home to the Russian Embassy in honor of the opposition leader.
[01:13.87]Boris Nemtsov was a reformist politician and fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
[01:23.90]Nemtsov was shot and killed nearly three years ago on a bridge in Moscow.
[01:32.49]D.C. officials are seeking permission from the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Homeland Security before they make the change.
[01:45.91]Council officials said that a ceremony to set up a plaque honoring Nemtsov has been set for the third anniversary of his death on February 27.
[02:01.40]Federal legislation to rename the area along Wisconsin Avenue was first proposed in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in 2017.
[02:15.21]The proposal has yet to be approved.
[02:20.98]The Senate bill states that the address of the property containing the embassy, the Russian ambassador’s home and consulate would be changed to 1 Boris Nemtsov Plaza.
[02:37.22]In the past, Russian officials have expressed opposition to the renaming.
[02:43.77]However, Dimitry Peskov, a government spokesman, said it is the decision of the D.C. officials for how to name the street in front of the embassy.
[02:57.92]"This is a prerogative of the city authorities,” he said, while noting it comes at a time when relations between the two countries have been tense.
[03:12.74]Russia’s state-operated TASS news agency reported his comments.
[03:19.87]Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports that Nemtsov supporters set up an unofficial memorial in his honor on the bridge where he was shot dead.
[03:34.89]But it has been repeatedly damaged or removed by unknown individuals.
[03:42.85]Last September, a plaque honoring Nemtsov was placed on the Moscow building where the opposition leader lived.
[03:52.53]But city officials declared the plaque illegal.
[03:58.12]It was removed after less than one week by a pro-government activist group.
[04:05.24]In June, a Moscow court found five men from Russia's North Caucasus area of Chechnya guilty of Nemtsov's murder.
[04:17.53]It sentenced them to prison for terms between 11 to 20 years.
[04:24.92]However, Nemtsov’s relatives and other contacts believe the killing had been ordered at a higher level.
[04:35.64]They say there will be no justice until the person or people who ordered his murdered are identified and brought to trial.
[04:48.08]Last month, Nemtsov’s daughter Zhanna Nemtsova spoke at a public hearing in Washington.
[04:57.49]She told D.C. council members that Putin's government wanted to completely remove the memory of her father.
[05:08.02]She said the Kremlin believes correctly that symbols are important and can sometimes incite change.
[05:18.48]"This explains the nervous reaction from the Russian Foreign Ministry when they first heard of the Washington, D.C., [street-naming] initiative," Nemtsova said.
[05:32.97]I’m Lucija Millonig.