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Under new coronavirus rules, Moscow's makeshift memorial to Boris Nemtsov is now unguarded for the first time in five years

Source: Meduza

For the first time in five years, there are now no volunteers guarding Boris Nemtsov’s makeshift memorial at the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, where the former first deputy prime minister was assassinated in February 2015. Because of the self-isolation requirements now in place across the city, it’s no longer possible to maintain the site’s around-the-clock sentry.

“We hope the memorial will remain in place even without anyone on regular duty. We believe and we know we’ll return and our goals will be achieved. It will happen sooner or later, but it will happen!” said Karina Starostina, who helps coordinate the volunteer effort to sustain the Nemtsov memorial.

The Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge's now abandoned makeshift memorial to Boris Nemtsov. March 30, 2020.
Evgeny Feldman for Meduza

Boris Nemtsov was murdered on February 27, 2015. Volunteers have maintained a makeshift memorial at the site of his death ever since, as city officials have refused to erect a permanent monument to the late first deputy prime minister. Cleaning crews and hooligans have repeatedly destroyed the makeshift memorial. To prevent this, volunteers have guarded the site around the clock for years.

On March 30, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin enacted a citywide self-isolation to slow the spread of coronavirus. Residents are now permitted to leave their homes only to commute to work (if their offices are still open), shop at the nearest store or pharmacy, seek emergency medical help, or walk their dogs (albeit only within about 110 yards of their homes).