A plaque commemorating an assassinated Russian democracy campaigner was unveiled in Parliament Hill to the sound of airhorns being blown.

Boris Nemtsov Place – at the junction of Highgate Road, Highgate West Hill and Swains Lane – is minutes away from the Russian Trade Delegation.

On Monday morning Camden councillors, officers, and Russian delegates, came to pay their respects - despite protests against the naming of the square.

Boris Nemtsov repeatedly spoke out against Vladimir Putin’s regime and campaigned to uphold democracy in Russia.

He was shot four times in the back and killed crossing the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, near the Kremlin, as he walked home with his Ukrainian girlfriend Anna Duritskaya after a night out on February 27, 2015.

Ham & High: Cllr Georgia Gould, Sonia and Evgenia Kara-MurzaCllr Georgia Gould, Sonia and Evgenia Kara-Murza (Image: Nathalie Raffray)

Leading the campaign to honour his legacy was Evgenia Kara-Murza, the wife of Vladimir Kara-Murza, a long-time supporter and friend of Boris Nemtsov who was arrested in April and jailed in Russia for speaking out against Putin’s war in Ukraine.

With their daughter Sonia by her side, Evgenia said Boris Nemstov was a "true mentor" to her husband, "not in theory but by his acts, that you are the one to decide what kind of human being you want to be." 

She added: "In the middle of my heartbreak I am so heartwarmed  to see so many faces here who understand exactly what I'm talking about

"People who know what freedom is about. Even those protesters over there, they know exactly what freedom and democracy is about." 

She said she had "no words enough" to show her gratitude to Camden Council and all the residents of Camden "for showing this amazing signal of support and solidarity with those around the world who fight against totalitarian regimes and who run great risk to do that," and pointing to protestors "to finally have the right to do that". 

Ham & High: Cllr Camron Aref-Adib reading a letter from Boris Nemtsov's daughterCllr Camron Aref-Adib reading a letter from Boris Nemtsov's daughter (Image: Nathalie Raffray)

Highgate councillor Camron Aref-Adib read from a letter from Boris Nemtsov's daughter Zhanna Nemtsova. She said:"On behalf of my family, I’m deeply grateful to the Council of Camden and its leader Georgia Gould for taking the decision to rename a junction in London in honour of my father."

She added: "It is a symbolic move to show solidarity with the Russian opposition, but also it’ll be a place for the Russian exiled community where they can gather to protest Putin’s regime, a dictatorship that continues its brutal, bloody and senseless war in Ukraine, destroying civilian infrastructure across the country and killing thousands of people. 

"This war also destroys Russia and will have further devastating consequences for the country."

Camden is the first place in the UK to name an area after Boris Nemtsov, following Washington DC, Vilnius, Kyiv, Bratislava, Prague, Sofia and Greater Toronto who have taken this step.

Russian authorities have prevented the establishment of an official memorial to Nemtsov, so his friends and supporters have turned to nations arounds the world to help commemorate his life and legacy. 

Cllr Gould said: "I am proud that today we are honouring his legacy and I hope this small act shows those risking their lives they are not alone, that in every part of the world there are communities that stand with them.

"Hundreds of thousands of people come to Hampstead Heath each year and they will see this sign. 

"And I hope that they will consider Boris Nemstov legacy and the actions they will take in their own life to stand up for democracy." 

Ham & High: Ksenia Maskmova, of the Russian Democratic SocietyKsenia Maskmova, of the Russian Democratic Society (Image: Nathalie Raffray)

After the event Ksenia Maskmova, of the Russian Democratic Society, said: "I'm really happy that London honours Boris Nemstov's memory in this way.

"I think it's really important because inside of Russia it's not possible to do it at all."

She said the memorial for Boris in Moscow where supporters bring flowers is constantly dissemmbled by police.

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former spokesperson and a Hampstead resident, said: "It's great. When you hear stories about Vladimir and his wife and daughter, you've got to keep these things in the public eye and remind people."

Local Jane Fiore said: "It's a very reputable issue and should be done. I do think Camden are virtue signalling but it's a good cause."

Ham & High: Information about Boris Nemtsov is on a post near the roundabout in Swain's LaneInformation about Boris Nemtsov is on a post near the roundabout in Swain's Lane (Image: Nathalie Raffray)

Highgate's Green Party councillor Sian Berry said: "I totally support this, it's a really nice thing to do."


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