On May 5, 2018, following the Congressional Review Period, the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-276), passed by the Washington D.C. City Council and signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser, became official law, permanently establishing Boris Nemtsov Plaza to honor the Russian opposition leader assassinated in 2015. Nemtsov Plaza is directly in front of the Russian Embassy.
The establishment of Nemtsov Plaza is an exceptional achievement that brought together a diverse cross-section of leaders joined by a common set of values, a common vision for a free Russia, and a common outrage over the murder of the country’s most prominent and effective advocate for freedom. World Affairs publishes the timeline of the making of Boris Nemtsov Plaza to establish a permanent record for the effort, as well as to pay tribute to World Affairs blogger and friend, Vladimir Kara-Murza, who played an indispensible role in designating Nemtsov Plaza as part of his continuing efforts to commemorate his friend and colleague.
February 27, 2015
Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov is assassinated on Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge in Moscow, steps away from the Kremlin.
June 6, 2016
Vladimir Kara-Murza, longtime friend and colleague of Nemtsov and chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom, meets with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to discuss the idea of naming the street in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. to honor Boris Nemtsov.
December 21, 2016
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with Jamie Fly, Counselor for Foreign and National Security Affairs for Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), to discuss the idea of naming the street in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. to honor Boris Nemtsov.
February 26, 2017
Bethany Poulos, Legislative Assistant to Senator Rubio, delivers the Senator’s message at a rally in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington D.C. to mark the second anniversary of Boris Nemtsov’s assassination promising to “continue working to ensure Boris’ legacy is never forgotten.”
February 27, 2017
On the second anniversary of Nemtsov’s assassination, Senator Rubio introduces bill S.459 “to designate the area between the intersections of Wisconsin Avenue, Northwest and Davis Street, Northwest and Wisconsin Avenue, Northwest and Edmunds Street, Northwest in Washington, District of Columbia, as ‘Boris Nemtsov Plaza’.”
February 28, 2017
Senator McCain cosponsors S.459.
March 13, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation. Senator Johnson cosponsors S.459.
March 15, 2017
Op-ed by Vladimir Kara-Murza in the Washington Post on the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation. “There will come a day when Russia takes pride in having Boris Nemtsov’s name on its embassy letterhead,” Kara-Murza wrote. “It will also be grateful to those who, in difficult times, did not allow it to forget.”
Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE) cosponsors S.459, becoming the first Democrat to support the legislation.
March 16, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.
March 20, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.
March 30, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza and his wife Evgenia meet with Senator Rubio to thank him for his leadership on the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.
April 3, 2017
Representative Ros-Lehtinen and her Democratic colleague, Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY), introduce H.R.1863, the House counterpart bill to S.459 on the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.
April 4, 2017
Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL) cosponsors H. R. 1863.
Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) cosponsors H. R. 1863.
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.
April 5, 2017
Senator Durbin cosponsors S.459.
April 13, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza is interviewed on Sky News about the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.
April 24, 2017
Senator Wicker cosponsors S.459.
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with the staff of Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.
May 4, 2017
Representative Gerald Connolly (D-VA) cosponsors H.R.1863.
Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC) cosponsors H.R.1863.
May 10, 2017
Senator Shaheen cosponsors S.459.
May 17, 2017
U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs marks up S.459. The legislation passes unanimously.
June 5, 2017
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) cosponsors S.459.
June 7, 2017
Representative Peter King (R-NY) cosponsors H.R.1863.
June 26, 2017
S.459 is favorably reported by the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs without amendment; S. Rept. 115-119.
S. 459 is placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 156.
July 11, 2017
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, places a hold on S.459.
July 25, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with the staff of Senator Corker to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.
July 27, 2017
Senator Rubio meets with Senator Corker to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.
August 2, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with Senator Corker to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.
August 2, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza meets with Senator Rubio to discuss further steps with regard to the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.
August 9, 2017
Conference call between Bethany Poulos, Vladimir Kara-Murza, and Zhanna Nemtsova (Boris Nemtsov’s daughter) with Nicole Rentz, Legislative Director for D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.
September 14, 2017
Vladimir Kara-Murza, Nemtsov family attorney Vadim Prokhorov, and Free Russia Foundation President Natalia Arno meet with Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation.
September 15, 2017
Zhanna Nemtsova sends a letter to Senator Corker asking him to lift the hold on S.459 and allow the bill to proceed on the Senate floor. “All public initiatives for an official commemoration of my father… have been blocked by the Russian authorities,” the letter read. “I hope Mr. Putin does not have a similar veto in other countries. S.459, a bipartisan measure, is not directed against anyone. Its aim… is to commemorate a Russian statesman who gave his life for the freedom of his country.” The letter receives no response.
September 19, 2017
Senator Gardner cosponsors S.459.
October 23, 2017
Meeting between Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Vladimir Kara-Murza, and National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation. Delegate Holmes Norton offers her support for the initiative and asks the D.C. Council to take the lead.
October 31, 2017
D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) and Councilmember Cheh introduce B22-0539, the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act of 2017, “to symbolically designate the unit block of Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., between Davis Street, N.W., and Edmunds Street, N.W., in Ward 3, as Boris Nemtsov Plaza.”
The meeting in Senator Marco Rubio’s office to discuss the next steps on the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation. Participants include (L to R) Vladimir Kara-Murza, Senator Christopher Coons, Senator Rubio, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, and D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh. November 1, 2017.
November 1, 2017
Meeting in Senator Rubio’s office convenes Senator Rubio, Senator Coons, Chairman Mendelson, Councilmember Cheh, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Bethany Poulos, Senator Rubio’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Robert Zarate, and others to discuss the Boris Nemtsov Plaza designation and further actions by the D.C. Council to enact the legislation.
November 7, 2017
B22-0539 referred to the D.C. Council’s Committee of the Whole. Sydney Hawthorne, Legislative Counsel to the Committee, is the lead staff member on the legislation.
November 30, 2017
In its editorial the Washington Post backs the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act and calls upon D.C. Councilmembers to demonstrate “that they are less intimidated by Mr. Putin than are their counterparts on Capitol Hill.”
December 6, 2017
Public hearing on B22-0539 in the D.C. Council’s Committee of the Whole. Vladimir Kara-Murza and Nemtsova testify in support of the bill. “The Russian authorities are fighting Boris Nemtsov even after his death,” Vladimir Kara-Murza said at the hearing. “The Moscow city government has rejected all public initiatives for a commemoration… Several times a month, always in the middle of the night, the Moscow municipal services pillage the [makeshift] memorial on the bridge; grown men in uniforms stealing flowers under the cover of darkness.” Nemtsova expressed “profound gratitude to Members of the D.C. Council” for the initiative to commemorate her father. Councilmember Cheh called on her colleagues “to show solidarity with those around the world who make the extraordinary effort—under adverse circumstances, including risking and losing their lives—to try to bring democracy to their people.”
Senator Rubio (R-FL) applauds the D.C. Council for taking up the Boris Nemtsov Plaza legislation and thanks Chairman Mendelson and Councilmember Cheh “for leading this effort at the city level and bringing it closer to a reality.”
December 19, 2017
D.C. Council’s Committee of the Whole marks up B22-0539; the vote is unanimous in favor of the initiative.
January 3, 2018
D.C. Council’s Committee of the Whole files the report on B22-0539.
January 9, 2018
D.C. Council unanimously approves B22-0539 on the first reading. The Council also approves the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Emergency Declaration Resolution of 2018 and passes the Boris Nemtsov Designation Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-0235) to ensure that the designation becomes effective before February 27, the third anniversary of Nemtsov’s assassination.
January 10, 2018
Senator Rubio applauds the D.C. Council for passing the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act. “I thank Chairman Mendelson and Councilmember Mary Cheh for their leadership,” his statement reads. “Starting on the third anniversary of Mr. Nemtsov’s assassination, there will be a sign in front of the Russian Embassy to remind Vladimir Putin and his cronies that they cannot use murder, violence, and intimidation to silence dissent.”
January 25, 2018
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) signs D.C. Act 22-235, the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Emergency Act of 2018.
February 1, 2018
Free Russia Foundation President Natalia Arno obtains a permit from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to hold the public unveiling ceremony for Boris Nemtsov Plaza on February 27.
February 6, 2018
The D.C. Council unanimously passes B22-0539 on the final reading.
February 27, 2018
On the third anniversary of Boris Nemtsov’s assassination U.S. government officials, Members of Congress, D.C. Council leaders, foreign diplomats, as well as friends and family of Nemtsov gathered to witness the unveiling of Boris Nemtsov Plaza in front of the Russian Embassy, the world’s first official memorial to the late Russian opposition leader. The ceremony is attended by Senators Rubio, Coons, Wicker, Johnson, as well as Representative Ros-Lehtinen, Delegate Holmes Norton, Chairman Mendelson, Councilmember Cheh, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell, Zhanna Nemtsova, Boris Nemtsov’s first wife Raisa Nemtsova, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Natalia Arno, Vadim Prokhorov, and others. Senator McCain and Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD) issue statements on the unveiling. “This commemoration will not be removed. This commemoration will stay here. It will always be here as a symbol and an honor to Boris Nemtsov,” Cheh said at the unveiling. “Let them steal the candles, let them steal the flowers, they can never steal his memory.” Senator Rubio thanked the D.C. Council for its “extraordinary efforts” in making Boris Nemtsov Plaza a reality. “For me as a Russian citizen there can be nothing more patriotic than to name a street in front of the Russian Embassy after a Russian statesman,” Kara-Murza said at the ceremony. “I know that one day the Russian state will be proud that our embassy in Washington is standing on a street named after Boris Nemtsov.” Nemtsov’s goddaughter and Kara-Murza’s younger daughter, Sofia, pulled the cord to unveil the sign reading “Boris Nemtsov Plaza.”
March 8, 2018
Mayor Bowser signs B22-0539 as D.C. Act 22-276, the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act of 2018.
March 16, 2018
D.C. Act A22-0276 is published in the D.C. Register (Vol. 65/11).
March 26, 2018
D.C. Act A22-0276 is transmitted to the U.S. Congress for the mandatory 30-day Congressional Review Period.
April 9, 2018
The D.C. Council passes the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Congressional Review Emergency Declaration Resolution of 2018 and the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018 to ensure the emergency designation remains effective until the permanent legislation is in place.
May 3, 2018
Mayor Bowser signs the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018.
May 5, 2018
Following the mandatory 30-day Congressional Review Period the Boris Nemtsov Plaza Designation Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-276) comes into effect, making the street designation permanent. The Act, under Law Number L22-0092, is transmitted back to the Council.