Russian lawmakers have hit out at the U.S. after Washington D.C. City Council voted to rename a street in front of the Russian Embassy after a murdered dissident.
Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov — an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin — was shot dead outside the Kremlin in 2015. In a statement announcing its unanimous decision, the council said it was renaming “the portion of Wisconsin Avenue in front of the Russian Embassy” after him, Politico reports. A ceremony to install a plaque on the newly-named Boris Nemtsov Plaza will take place on the third anniversary of his death on Feb. 27.
Authorities must still get final approval for the change from the House of Representatives.
The move provoked a predictable backlash in Russia. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the nationalist LDPR party said U.S. authorities “specifically want to play dirty tricks in front of the Russian Embassy,” according to the BBC.
Dmitry Novikov, a member of Russia’s Communist Party, told the Interfax news agency that, “The U.S. authorities have long been absorbed in their own game of interfering in Russian internal affairs.”
In December last year, Nemtsov’s daughter Zhanna traveled to D.C. to petition city authorities on the street’s name change. A memorial near the site of his shooting in Moscow is frequently vandalized, according to the BBC.
“The current Russian political regime wants to eradicate the memory of my father, since it believes — correctly — that symbols are important and that they can potentially facilitate and inspire change,” she reportedly said at the time.