Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a bill on Monday to rename the street in front of the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C. in honor of a Russian opposition leader who was murdered near the Kremlin two years ago.
“Boris Nemtsov Plaza” would be the new name of the thoroughfare should Rubio’s bill end up being signed into law.
Nemtsov, who served as deputy prime minister under president Boris Yeltsin, was shot multiple times by gunmen on a bridge near Red Square on Feb. 27, 2015. At the time of his murder, Nemtsov was organizing protests against the Russian government’s invasion of Crimea.
Many suspect that he was assassinated on the orders of Russian president Vladimir Putin, a charge that the Kremlin denies.
“The creation of ‘Boris Nemtsov Plaza’ would permanently remind Putin’s regime and the Russian people that these dissidents’ voices live on, and that defenders of liberty will not be silenced. It will also help raise awareness among the American people about the ongoing abuses in Putin’s Russia,” Rubio said in a statement.
“Putin may hope Nemtsov’s murder deters dissent, but we must continue to support Russia’s pro-democracy movement so that does not happen,” the senator added.
Rubio, who has become an outspoken critic of Putin, said that renaming the street will make it “abundantly clear to the Kremlin that the intimidation and murder of opposition figures does not go unnoticed.”
Putin is believed to be behind the deaths of several opposition figures and journalists.
Five Chechen men are currently on trial in the Nemtsov case.