What to Know
- The Russian embassy in D.C. now sits on a street that D.C. officials renamed after a critic of Vladimir Putin.
- The move amounts to a city-sponsored effort to troll the Russian government.
- In Moscow, a politician recommended renaming the street where the U.S. is located North American Dead End.
The Russian embassy in D.C. is now located on a street named after an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A portion of Wisconsin Avenue outside the embassy was ceremonially renamed Boris Nemtsov Plaza on Tuesday, in what amounts to a D.C.-sponsored effort to troll the Russian government.
Nemtsov, an opposition politician, was murdered near the Kremlin three years ago Tuesday.
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D.C. Council member Mary Cheh, who sponsored a unanimously passed D.C. bill to rename the portion of the avenue, said the city wanted to pay tribute to Nemtsov.
"Since 2015, supporters/family of Boris Nemtsov have tried to memorialize his sacrifice at the spot where he was felled by gunfire — only to have it swept away by authorities," she said on Twitter. "The Russian govt will not be able to erase his memory here, on American soil, in the District of Columbia."
Cheh said the move has no connection to allegations of Russian election meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. Rather, she said, the goal was to honor a Russian patriot and democracy advocate.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said she wanted to honor Nemtsov's fight for democracy.
“We are grateful to the D.C. Council for memorializing Nemtsov’s legacy outside of the Russian Embassy to send a strong signal that the United States stands with Russians who continue strive to achieve freedom in their country," she said in a statement.
The Kremlin did not officially comment on the issue.
The name change marks the first official recognition for Nemtsov worldwide, World Affairs Journal reported.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio first introduced legislation to rename the plaza in 2017. However, the law stalled in Congress, Rubio wrote in a CNN editorial published last month.
Washington's city council approved the name change last month, after public hearings that included testimony from Nemtsov's daughter, Zhanna Nemtsova.
The cost of building and installing the new street sign was an estimated $170, D.C. Council documents say.
Earlier this month, Russian lawmaker Mikhail Degtyaryov recommended that Russia rename the Moscow street where the U.S. Embassy is located as North American Dead End, The New York Times reported. A city commission will review the suggestion.