Today, Vilnius City Council approved the initiative of creating a square named after Boris Nemtsov in Vilnius. It is symbolic that a person who became a symbol of the struggle for democracy in Russia, actively supported the values of democracy and was a member of the opposition who was killed for his beliefs will be immortalised in front of the Embassy of Russia in Vilnius.
“I honour the memory of B. Nemtsov, Anna Politkovskaya, and other killed Russian democrats and journalists and I appreciate their fight against Putin’s regime. Of course, such prominent people deserve to be honoured and immortalised in Vilnius. In this way, we will also show our respect for half a million Moscow residents who took to the streets to support Lithuania after 13 January 1991,” says Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius.
A couple months ago, the Mayor met with prominent Russian democrats who came to the capital city, representatives of the opposition who got asylum in Lithuania, organisers of protests and solidarity actions, and journalists. He listened to their expectations and suggested a way to immortalise Russian democrats in Vilnius symbolically.
“Every time, it is a unique feeling to come to Lithuania, a country that always supports dialogue and gives aid. During periods that were the most difficult for Russian democracy, Boris Nemtsov fought against the authoritarian regime and, despite risks, attacks, and arrests, he remained faithful to his beliefs. A person may be killed, but it is impossible to kill the memory of that person and democratic principles. We believe that a day will come when we will be able to pay our respects to B. Nemtsov in Russia. We are grateful to Vilnius, which is the first city in the world to take initiative to commemorate Boris in Vilnius,” Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian opposition politician and an associate of B. Nemtsov, said in the Council Hall.
It is planned that the square in Latvių Street could have various artistic elements and benches named after democrats. It is considered that a grove and a pond situated at this location could become an attractive place for the city residents, while birches that grow here could be named after Russian people or events that contributed to democracy and freedom.
B. Nemtsov was an active member of the opposition. He was shot on 27 February 2015 in Moscow, not far from the Kremlin. B. Nemtsov visited Lithuania many times and was one of the main supporters of Lithuanians during the events of 13 January and afterwards.