Remembering A Torchbearer of Liberty in Russia | Victims of Communism

Victims of Communism — Memorial Foundation

Remembering A Torchbearer of Liberty in Russia

FEBRUARY 27, 2018


DC city council renames street outside Russian embassy after Boris Nemtsov on the anniversary of his murder

Today, the Council of the District of Columbia officially renamed the block of Wisconsin Avenue directly facing the Russian embassy as Boris Nemtsov Plaza. Boris Nemtsov was a pro-democracy activist who opposed the dictatorial and kleptocratic rule of Vladimir Putin and served as deputy prime minister under Russian president Boris Yeltsin.

Nemtsov was assassinated in Moscow three years ago today on February 27, 2015. Despite international consensus that Putin’s cronies were responsible for the killing of the civil society leader, the Kremlin has steadfastly refused to mount a sincere investigation of the crime.

VOC Executive Director Marion Smith offered the following statement: “This courageous decision taken by the Council of the District of Columbia echoes the act of Congress which was passed in 1984 naming the street outside the former Soviet embassy after Andrei Sakharov, one of the most famous dissidents imprisoned in the USSR. This act ensured that Sakharov’s name was printed on every piece of correspondence sent to and from the embassy. Similarly, this act is meant to ensure that the name of Boris Nemtsov will not be forgotten by the Russian regime that carried out his killing.”

Smith added: “Boris Nemtsov once said that ‘Putin is blatantly exploiting Soviet nostalgia.’ He’s not just promoting Soviet nostalgia, but taking pages out of the repressive playbook of the Soviet KGB. It is unfortunate that twenty-six years after the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, Vladimir Putin and his neo-Soviet regime is still murdering dissidents who are working to promote truth, justice, and memory in Russia.”

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation is a Washington-based, non-profit educational and human rights organization devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes. VOC was authorized by a unanimous act of Congress on December 17, 1993 and signed by President Bill Clinton.


To request an interview with Marion Smith, please contact Briggs Burton at by email at or by phone at (202)-629-9500.